BOSS OF IT ALL, THE (Direktøren for det hele) (director/writer: Lars Von Trier; editor: Molly Marlene Stensgaard; cast: Jens Albinus (Kristoffer), Jean-Marc Barr (Spencer), Casper Christensen (Gorm), Benedikt Erlingsson, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (Finnur), Peter Gantzler (Ravn), Iben Hjejle (Lise), Henrik Prip (Nalle), Mia Lyhne (Heidi A.), Louise Mieritz (Mette), Anders Hove (Jokumsen), Sofie Grabol (Kisser), Benedikt Erlingsson (Interpreter); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Meta Louise Foldager/Vibeke Windelov/Signe Jensen; IFC Films; 2006-Denmark-Sweden-Italy-France-in Danish & Icelandic with English subtitles)
“An appealing low-budget quirky spoof on corporations.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Danish director-writer Lars Von Trier (“The Idiots”/”Manderlay”/”Dancer in the Dark”) returns to Denmark to film his first Danish-language film since ‘The Idiots’ and one of his more accessible films. The Boss of it All is an appealing low-budget quirky spoof on corporations, the narcissistic mind-games played by actors and how the Icelanders detest the Danes. Von Trier appears as a reflection in an office building window at the start to announce that this is a comedy and ‘not worth a moment’s reflection,’ which, of course, is not so.

Ravn (Peter Gantzler), the affable sneaky owner of a Danish hi-tech firm, called the IT company, wishes to sell out to an Icelandic company. In order to not deal with the start-up companies ornery creative people, Ravn manufactured at the beginning a figurehead to “hide behind” when confronted with employee problems and had the invented CEO living in the states ever since. But in order to close the deal with the untrusting Icelanders Ravn, posing as just the boss’s right hand man, must produce the company president or else they will withdraw from the proposed deal. He therefore hires on the cheap an unemployed bumbling artistic Danish actor, Kristoffer (Jens Albinus), to play the part of the fictional president in order to satisfy the cranky Icelandic company president Finnur (Fridrik Thor Fridriksson). The lie gets deeper when the creative board at IT accidentally meet their fake president and grill him, and he thereby gets involved with them. The comedy is derived from how the actor handles power and how he bluffs his way through the techie questions, and how the workers react to the boss of it all as a power figure in the corporate world.

The abstract Brechtian comedy works in part as a diverting experimental film for the provocateur filmmaker. Though never that funny, it’s well-acted and the script is both fresh and clever. It’s filmed in Automavision. This process allows a computer to set on its own camera angles and movement.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”