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The Boss of It All (2006)

Jean-Marc Barr , Sofie Grbl , Lars von Trier  |  NR |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Marc Barr, Sofie Grbl, Anders Hove, Fridrik Thr Fridriksson, Jens Albinus
  • Directors: Lars von Trier
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2007
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B000R7HY3C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The owner of an IT firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started his firm he invented a nonexistent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on negotiating with the "Boss" face to face the owner has to take on a failed actor to play the part. The actor suddenly discovers he is a pawn in a game that goes on to sorely test his (lack of) moral fiber.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliberately Amateurish, but Funny All the Same. September 25, 2007
Format:DVD
Danish director Lars von Trier gets experimental again in "The Boss of It All", but this time he aims to make us laugh. This corporate comedy sends up actors, artistic pretensions, and the venerable tradition of passing the buck. Mr. Ravn (Peter Gantzler) founded a successful technology company but was loath to take on the role of President. So he invented a fictional company president who is always abroad, concealing his true role even from the company's "six seniors", its first and most valuable employees. Now Ravn needs to close a deal with an Icelandic businessman who insists on dealing with the President. So Ravn hires Kristoffer (Jens Albinus), an out-or work actor of little talent and many pretensions, to be the President for a week.

This absurd set-up creates ample opportunity for hilarity: The staff is easily convinced that Kristoffer is President despite his ignorance and inarticulate prattle. He must negotiate conversations with the six seniors, who have each been given a different impression of him by Gavn, without letting on that he doesn't know them. He gradually comes to realize that Gavn created the President to take the blame for his unpopular decisions, while Gavn took credit for more generous policies. The men are more alike than Kristoffer would like to think, as they both crave attention and acceptance. "The Boss of It All" is insightful, comical, and almost believable.

The film doesn't look good, though. Lars von Trier employed Automavision to frame all the shots. In other words, he let a computer decide where to put the camera. "Decide" might not be the best word. The computer selects randomly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Danish auteur Lars von Trier turns his acidic wit to office politics, with the overall message that while the true boss of it all that really runs the show is money, capitalism American style, what most of us really want is not the truth but a convenient and self-serving fiction. Along the way von Trier dishes up a scenario that is endlessly inventive and hilarious -- and that in its ruthless look at the stupidity of bureaucracy harks back to his underseen television miniseries Riget/Kingdom. As in that series, he includes himself directly here as a narrator to comment on his approach and on his expectations from the audience -- reminding us both directly and indirectly that his aim is not to please or to edify but to exploit and manipulate and offend at the same time as he entertains. This is a lighter, and less ambitious, project than anything he has done for a while, but it is no less intriguing for that.

As in many of his films, where he deliberately imposes upon himself a specific constraint (as in his Dogme film "The Idiots" or as in "Dogville" and "Manderlay" where he gets rid of the sets, or as he imposes upon his teacher Jorgen Leth in "The Five Obstructions), he set up a very specific constraint upon himself in the making of this film that defines in large part its style and look. He made use of a technology dubbed "Automavision" -- a camera whose angle and exposure are set randomly by computer -- and the effect is to add a jumpy and kinetic quality to the film that goes against the standard Hollywood style continuity editing and includes jump cuts and non-matching lighting, etc. Somehow it works, in part because of the strength of the acting and the script, but in part because the awkwardness of the style seems to match the story perfectly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about 'The Boss of It All' January 19, 2010
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I was interested to see what Lars von Trier's take on comedy would be. From the cover I expected something resembling a Danish version of Ricky Gervais' 'The Office', and in some ways it is - 'cringe humour' is an accurate description.

The plot revolves around an out of work actor who is hired to impersonate the (non-existent) boss of an IT firm by Ravn, the firm's real owner. The actor is well and truly thrown in the deep end, and watching him succumb to Ravn's machinations provides most of the laughter.

Ravn used 'the boss' as a scapegoat over the years, whenever he made a decision his empoyees didn't like. One woman's husband hanged himself after 'the boss' made him redundant. Worse, Ravn has told each staff member different things about him.

The ending, without giving it away, is a very funny send up of actors and the acting profession.

Unlike some viewers I was fine with von Trier's use of automavision to film this, the only thing that did annoy me being the directors 'ironic' interjections at several points in the movie. I thought von Trier would have been above the use of trendy contrived irony, but apparently not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"You have a knack for deliberate mental cruelty."
"You're right, but I'm better at being irritating on an intuitive level."

With his often unlikely plotting, emphasis on stripped-down style over structure and fascination with stripping away the suspension of disbelief of most films to highlight their artificiality, it's fair to say that Lars Von Trier isn't to everyone's taste. After films like Breaking the Waves and Dancer in the Dark he also seems an unlikely candidate to try his hand at a comedy, but the mischievous sense of humour that's run through his work since the TV series The Kingdom finds a perfect outlet in The Boss of it All. The plot might seem almost as if it could do service as a mainstream Hollywood comedy, but in many ways it's the perfect match of premise and filmmaker.

Gambini-obsessed bad actor Kristoffer (Jens Albnus) is hired by Ravn (Peter Gantzler) to pretend to be the boss of the company he's planning to sell. Ravn has been the real boss of the company for years, but is so desperate to be liked by his staff that the only way he can pass on bad news is by blaming it all on an invisible owner in America. Despite the fact that at first Kristoffer reads far more into the text than there is ("It says far more than it says" he notes of his underwritten part: "I had hoped it would say as little as possible," replies the whiz-at-contracts Ravn), unfortunately, Ravn's so desperate not to be disliked that he doesn't fill Kristoffer in on the full script, expecting the hapless actor to improvise his way through a minefield of imaginary relationships the staff have created with him over the years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry, Dry Humor
This Danish DVD is definitely not for most of you. But I know some of you like foreign films; while some of us get a kick out of actors and their "process"; and others are fans of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jay B. Lane
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Audio
This was recommended to us as being funny. Perhaps it is, but given that the audio sounds like it was recorded underwater using a Fisher-Price microphone in a subway car, I... Read more
Published 15 months ago by brainygirl
2.0 out of 5 stars Not everyone will find it funny.
This film is a situation comedy based on laughing at people in awkward situations. If you have a taste for that kind of thing than this movie is for you. Otherwise forget it.
Published 21 months ago by Citris1
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilaaaarious!
This movie is a hilarious crowd-pleaser. A little screwball, a little alternative. I've had many a skeptical friend that I've convinced to see this film and they all ended up... Read more
Published on February 14, 2012 by young urban professional
3.0 out of 5 stars The Joke Is You
Years ago when I was in Japan there were some odd cultural things that I never quite 'got', like television commercials for example. Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by MadMacs
1.0 out of 5 stars I did try - but could not get through this very, very slow film
A film mocking corporate life, placed in one of my favorite countries, Denmark: I got this film with great anticipation for a good evening's entertainment. Read more
Published on November 12, 2010 by Mary McGreevey
2.0 out of 5 stars Movie for the eggheads
I think von Trier is proud of this film stylistically. But when it comes to fun, I do not find this movie very funny. It seems to be a movie for the movie wise heads. Read more
Published on July 6, 2010 by Rune Rindel Hansen
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Comedy; Funny and Biting
This film is absolutely brilliant. The owner of a company has been pretending to answer to a non-existent higher-up, 'The Boss of it All'. Read more
Published on December 15, 2009 by vitajex
3.0 out of 5 stars achieves some interest after a faltering first half
Ravn (Peter Gantzler) is a Danish entrepreneur who, due to an almost pathological need to be liked by everyone, has trouble effectively managing the employees who work for him. Read more
Published on June 28, 2008 by Roland E. Zwick
2.0 out of 5 stars one joke
I guess you could say I'm a Lars von Trier fan, this being the fifth film of his I've seen (the best by far is Breaking the Waves), but this one was an utter disappointment. Read more
Published on October 27, 2007 by jack lansbury
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