Film Comment - 05/01/2007
"THE BOSS OF IT ALL finds Trier in an uncharacteristically subtle mode, opting for allegory and inviting us to both love and hate him as we negotiate a series of oppositions pivoting on the notion of power..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/01/2007
"This satire of empty-suit capitalism has scalding moments..." -- Grade: B-
New York Times - 05/23/2007
"THE BOSS OF IT ALL turns into a deadpan farce of misunderstandings and embarrassments....It's also very funny..."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2008
"[I]ts virtues deriving from a great idea, a good script and convincing performances, produced by talented individuals working together as a team..."
Total Film - 04/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n office-based farce that's as hilariously unexpected as it is unexpectedly hilarious."
Empire - 07/01/2008 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] surprisingly tight scripted, deliciously played workplace farce....Springing twists to the end, this is dark but truthful comedy."
Controversial yet always-interesting filmmaker Lars von Trier takes a surprising turn with THE BOSS OF IT ALL. Von Trier shackles his film to a traditional narrative structure, hitting cinematic heights he's been unable to reach since early efforts such as THE IDIOTS and BREAKING THE WAVES. Indeed, moviegoers who felt alienated by esoteric works such as DOGVILLE and MANDERLAY should find themselves on more comfortable ground here. THE BOSS OF IT ALL is set in Denmark, and revolves around Ravn (Peter Gantzler), the unassertive founder of a popular technology company. Ravn has invented a fictional, svengali-like boss ("Svend") of the company, whom he claims is pulling the strings from America. In fact, Svend is a front that the lily-livered Ravn uses whenever he has to make an unpopular decision. But when Ravn decides to sell the company, he has to corral an unemployed actor, Kristoffer (Jens Albinus), into playing Svend, thus introducing him to a group of co-workers who all have wildly different expectations of what this shadowy figure will be like.
The strength in von Trier's film lies in the subtle interplay between Gantzler and Albinus. Albinus's "Svend" gets into a mind-boggling array of tangled and complicated situations with Ravn's co-workers, and his woeful yet hilariously overwrought acting really hits some comic high points as the movie unravels. Von Trier shoots in a "mockumentary" style which is sure to draw comparisons to both the British and U.S. versions of THE OFFICE, but THE BOSS OF IT ALL is really a work that inhabits its own peculiar universe, standing as a fine testament to a director who is not afraid to confound, surprise, and even alienate his own audience.