Saturday, October 14, 2006


5th Spanish Film Festival
Cinema 1, Greenbelt 3

Gronholm Method

The film starts with a split screen showing us scenes of the different characters as they start their day. The radio and the programs on TV informs us that on that day, the IMF summit begins in Madrid. So there are going to be street protesters marching in the streets therefore people are told to be more vigilant and expect some chaos. So after providing us a good backgrounder via images of chaotic street scenes, the film takes on its normal format, the director focuses on an office.

Throughout the entire film, there is only one scene. A boardroom in a modern posh office. There are also only 8 characters, if you include the secretary. The other 7 characters are all job applicants for the same high paying position in a top firm. We are not told the exact position they are applying for. Thus begins a very intense analysis of each of the applicants using what is known as the Gronholm Method. A human resource strategy supposedly developed in the US. This method pits the candidates against each other through a series of tests wherein they (the applicants themselves) eliminate the weakest link from the group. In the process, it becomes a race, a survival of the fittest. Each candidate is very qualified. They are successful in their respective careers, all of them driven and ambitious. Yet the test somehow manages to weed out their individual weaknesses, their flaws to the point where it gets pretty brutal and even resorts to insults on their personality. So while there are some background noise of loud protests in the streets below, up on that 35th floor office, a different kind of warfare is brewing - among the severn very well qualified candidates for that one position. It gets dirty, it gets personal, it is compelling to watch.

The film is based on a famous play about different interview jobs. It does a very good job in drawing out the 7 main characters. It is well acted by a bunch of good looking actors and actresses. It is gripping and fascinating to watch, to see just how far certain people are willing to compromise just to land themselves a good job. It is a no holds barred situation. Each character is well fleshed out. Each scene as dramatic as the next. Never a dull moment until the very end when only one candidate is chosen or rather wins the job.

I recommend this film because it is a good showcase on the different psyche of people. A good analytical view of humanity, best characterized by a diverse group of people bunched up together for a single purpose - to land a high paying job. It is amazing how one single setting (in this case a boardroom in an office) can bring out different scenarios.

Watch it. It is worth it, believe me!

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