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Palm Pictures presents
The Method (2005)

"Is there something the company should know?"
- Montse (Natalia Verbeke)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: August 07, 2007

Stars: Eduardo Noriega, Najwa Nimri, Eduard Fernández, Pablo Echarri, Adriana Ozores, Ernesto Alterio
Director: Marcelo Piñeyro

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:51m:47s
Release Date: August 14, 2007
UPC: 660200315726
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BB-B+ C+

DVD Review

Just about everybody has their nightmare job interview story—mine involved the interviewer letting loose with a tirade of racial slurs, and then looking to see if I was going to be a good German and go along—but generally we don't have to put our souls on the line the way the characters do in this movie, which is clearly something of an artificial construct, but has a whole bunch of fascinations. It's sort of an unholy cross between Glengarry Glen Ross and Ten Little Indians, or something with the hothouse fever of 12 Angry Men and a dollop of Survivor, as we watch a conference room full of applicants vote one another off the island.

The premise is intriguing: seven applicants for a single vacancy at the Dekia Corporation are invited for callback interviews, and by the end of the day, one of them will have secured the job. The seven are essentially locked in a room and asked to duke it out, high-tech style, with a couple of curveballs thrown in. For instance: one of the seven isn't an applicant at all, but a company mole, a psychologist there to assess the others, and to be sussed out. They're given a series of team-building exercises, all with the understanding that any bridges built early in the day are likely to be burned later—they're told that the process follows the outline laid out in the famous Grönholm method (hence the film's title), though none of the septet seem to know precisely what's coming down the pike next.

It all makes for some interesting exercises in human behavior—how forthcoming or withholding should one be under these circumstances? And since we're all more than just our résumés, there's some personal history and sexual tension throughout the piece—two of the applicants, for instance, had a torrid couple of weeks together maybe three years ago, and this is the first time they've seen another since then. The film is at its best when it's making clear that office politics and sexual politics are exactly the same.

But at times the whole thing feels claustrophobic, and like a put-on. It's no surprise to learn that this was a stage play first; the director, Marcelo Piñeyro, is reasonably inventive visually, but just about the whole film keeps us locked in one room, and it can grow tiresome. Similarly, the necessary vagueness about the corporation and its method of choice in H.R. beg lots of questions: what do they do here, exactly? Why is it so desirable to work there? And the bigger question: why would you possibly want to work for a company that put you through this kind of crap, even before you started getting a paycheck?

No doubt we're intended to view much of this metaphorically—it's like a new millennial Lifeboat, for juxtaposed with the sealed Madrid conference room are the riots in the streets occurring in protest of the IMF meeting happening in the same city, and the suggestion that in the new economy we all end up eating our own. The movie is more fun to enjoy in a lurid, soap opera kind of way, though, and you're more likely to choose a favorite among the competitors and root hard than to see it as a searing examination of the soul of the company man or woman.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Some scratching mars the transfer; colors can be a little garish as well.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Ominous atmospherics in the dense mix make the 5.1 track preferable, but the 2.0 one will serve just as well, if your home theater system isn't tricked out.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Ten Canoes, You're Gonna Miss Me, Rolling Family
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. PSA for www.one.org
Extras Review: The director and many of the cast members are interviewed in a making-of piece (16m:28s) that's a lovefest—they all tout one another's reputations, and suggest that the assembled talent is a dream team of sorts. Unquestionably they're all very good, but my familiarity with Spanish cinema is passing at best, so I'll leave those sorts of accolades to others.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

A movie to make you think twice before embellishing your résumé, and one that's full of lots of delicious nastiness, backbiting and betrayals, the kind of stuff we love to hear about in other people's offices, but universally dread about our own.


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