Javier Bardem, renowned for his memorable portrayals of villains in No Country for Old Men and Skyfall, adds another sinisterly charming, immoral character to his repertoire as the titular “good boss” in this dark Spanish satire which bagged all the top awards at the 2022 Goyas (the Spanish Oscars).
Benevolent patriarch Julio Blanco, CEO of a family company manufacturing precision industrial scales, is determined to win a prestigious business award. In a few days’ time, the national committee deciding the award outcome will come to inspect the premises. Everything must be perfect – Julio, risking his own sanity, will ensure that it is, no matter who he must seduce and destroy.
“‘Don’t treat me like a boss,’ Blanco keeps telling people with a thin gray smile. You shudder to think how fast it would vanish if you did anything but. We first encounter him giving a smarmy pep talk to the employees at his company… All smiles and handshakes and repeated mentions of community, it’s a performance for the benefit of a local journalist, visiting to big-up the factory in a commissioned puff piece…
Once the visitors are gone, however… a little harsh housekeeping. Among various downsizing measures, longtime employee Jose is summarily dismissed, and doesn’t take it well… Within factory walls, meanwhile, everything is far from hunky-dory. Blanco’s right-hand man, Miralles, is distracted by marital woes and flailing professionally – a weakness his boss isn’t above exploiting for the good of the company… Blanco’s own marriage to world-weary fashion boutique owner Adela hasn’t been sacred for years… With each chaotic plot turn of [this] anti-corporate comedy, it becomes clearer that Blanco is the blandest possible incarnation of pure evil: a man with nary a principle, much less a personality, to his name.” — Guy Lodge, Variety