26 February 2010 | krigler
Excellent premise marred by lazy characterization
The absurdity and grotesque one-upmanship of an executive job interview is sometimes perfectly captured in El Metodo, with an anti-capitalist demonstration used as an invisible backdrop with subtle symbolism. Directing is handled with confidence, and there is some memorable acting, although towards the end the ugly head of melodramatic overacting rears, destroying the atmosphere.
Also demolishing is the flawed characterization. One huge problem of the basic concept is that people interviewing for a high level managerial position have very rarely got anything to lose. Failure only gets the applicants back to other well paid, plush jobs. Such is a case with these people too; apart from their dignity and self-respect, there is nothing much at stake. Bigger problem is that even those they could easily keep were it not for their conveniently convoluted behaviour. From the writer's perspective it's simply a matter of bad characterization choices and some silly plotting. The competing interviewees behave with enormous stupidity sometimes to conveniently fit the dramatic wishes of the storyteller. One of the protagonists, a woman is rendered a victim about halfway through the film, a weak character unable to resist the sexual advances of a fellow male participant. This completely stupid and unrealistic plot development alone almost makes everything that follows implausible and shallow. (I mean, who in the world has sex in his mind during a supposedly important job interview? Come on, even the most macho males can control their animal urges - if they can't, there's no way they get to an executive position.) It's a pity the filmmakers could not muster up more courage to let the situation play itself out without sensationalist, melodramatic actions and resort to such cheap moves. What started out very well and tense, derails because of increasingly melodramatic plot solutions from the midpoint on.
It's a pity also that apart from a nicely symbolic final image and some subtly added subtext the storytellers did not make more of the anti-capitalist protests apparently going on simultaneously. It's a device completely wasted.
All in all, a film worth watching once for some nice psychodrama elements, but ultimately a terribly missed opportunity. For a similar premise, but a much more thrilling story watch "The Killing Room".