The Method

El Método, aka The Grönholm Method

The Method outfoxes TV survivor shows by staging a desperate dog-eat-dog scenario in the “human” resources department of a multinational corporation.
Year: 2005
Country: Spain
Running time: 115 mins
Screenplay: Mateo Gil, Marcelo Piñeyro.
Based on the play by Jordi Galcerán Ferrer
Photography: Alfredo Mayo
Editor: Iván Aledo
Music: Frédéric Bégin, Phil Electric
In Spanish and English, with English subtitles
M sex scenes, offensive language

With: Eduardo Noriega, Najwa Nimri, Eduard Fernández, Pablo Echarri, Ernesto Alterio, Carmelo Gómez, Adriana Ozores, Natalia Verbeke

Festivals: Toronto, Vancouver 2005; San Francisco 2006
Suavely savage, cinematic and pulsing with self-assurance, The Method takes the simplest of scenarios – seven executives, with markedly different styles, compete for the same top job – and turns it into a gripping corporate thriller that makes Neil La Bute seem overly sentimental. The title, The Method, refers to the Grönholm Method, a fictitious selection process supposedly imported from the United States that positions the contenders in direct competition with one another until the last suit standing gets the job. To make matters even more challenging, there doesn’t seem to be anyone directing the proceedings, apart from a bank of computer screens and a smiling but slippery receptionist. As the candidates are put through their paces, including a hypothetical situation in which they must choose who among them would be the least useful in a post-apocalyptic bunker, the psychological and even sexual power-play increases to the point of warfare. Meanwhile, outside the boardroom, anti-globalisation protestors gather on the streets of Madrid for a day of riots against the IMF. We never see the protesters, nor do their chants penetrate the thick glass walls of the boardroom, but their presence provides a constant backdrop of disquiet to underscore the filmmakers’ agenda. From the director of Kamchatka.

“Piñeyro’s film is a trenchant, disturbing take on the culture of power, greed and self-interest that is the modus operandi for today’s global politics and economics. It is also an immensely suspenseful, high-stakes drama of what human beings are willing to do for money and prestige, as well as the Janus-faced personas that they must create in order to compete.” — Jonathan Davies, The Festival Daily