Justetia may be blind, but her olfactory state is unknown. The proud businessman, who made his striving for internal and external balance his business model (has a long family tradition of producing industrial scales), immediately notices that the sample specimen at the entrance to the factory is not balanced.
However, he only realizes that the cause of the imbalance is literally deeply human origin when he actually squeezes his fingers into the warm stool left by the frustrated employee of Justitia’s care, so to speak. Not only is Julio Blanco smelly to high heaven, the scales of justice aren’t quite calibrated either.
“Diligence, poise and loyalty” is the motto of the traditional Julio (Javier Bardem) company, which sees his employees as his sons in the manner of capitalist provincial lords. A big honest family. The fact that the genre of “Buen Patrón”, the original title of Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s succinct comedy, has some ostensible similarities with the demeanor of the mafia godfather is already ingrained in Bardem’s pomp.
Julio’s week starts off promisingly. His Medium Company was again nominated for an Excellence Award. He had already cleared the award space on the trophy wall in the living room, the visit from the county government award committee is actually just a formality. “Only the Oscar is missing,” a visitor to Blanco’s stately home quipped as he stood against the wall with his awards. The sponsor already deserved an acting award. His motivational speeches in front of the workforce exude charisma, and his children show him respect (employees) or a little warm admiration (women staff).
From the unemployed to the medium-sized business owners
The fact that Spanish international superstar Javier Bardem plays Julio is a local joke that should not escape the attention of Spanish fans. Bardem slowly made his way up the social ladder in the films of fellow countryman de Aranoa: twenty years ago he played an unemployed man in “Mondays in the Sun”, most recently in 2017, drug lord Pablo Escobar. In fact, last year he took home the Best Actor award in Goyas, the “Spanish Academy Awards”. One of a total of seven awards for “The Perfect Chef,” its German title lacks intense ambiguity in the original.
Director de Aranoa initially gave his social satire a dry tinge. But one already doubts that the playful self-image of the patriarch will soon be tested. It only takes a week for the boycott farce to escalate. On Monday, a fired accountant camped with his son at the factory gate to protest his dismissal. Then the ongoing marital crisis for old production manager Miralles (Manolo Solo) delays production.
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His increasing mistakes cost his understanding boss not only a lot of money, but also the last nerve. Chief Logistics Khaled (Tariq Ramli) already feels his chance of being promoted. But the harmonious corporate culture soon turned out to be an illusion of social progress. Khaled once said to Giulio, “Look at the color of my skin.” “I am not your son.”
(In cinemas starting Thursday)
However, Julio’s biggest problem is the new intern in marketing, Liliana (Almudena Amor), who provokes the director’s desires. “Interns with me are like my daughters,” Liliana explains in the car. From this moment on at the latest, it’s clear that “The Perfect Boss” wants to be less of a workplace comedy critical of capitalism and more of a deconstruction of a distinct world view. De Aranoa shakes it under the skin with small jerks. It’s also nice how photographer Pau Esteve Birba allows the best ager Bardem to stand right there in the picture in some scenes.
The fact that “Buen Patrón” is actually just a relic of the past, and its patriarchal mafia methods of hand-washing by hand completely obsolete even in the provinces, is of course not groundbreaking knowledge. It has been a long time since anyone believed in capitalism with a human face. But Bardem’s subtle stoicism makes up for some ironic truisms that sometimes remind us of the morals of political cabaret.
That Julio in his misguided societal—just another form of transgression—if necessary, over corpses, director de Aranoa would probably want to sell to the public as black humor. The real point of the “perfect chef” is how external constraints, in which the patron becomes more and more intertwined, ultimately leave him with no choice but to enter the twenty-first century as an entrepreneur.