|Index||3 reviews in total|
I truly enjoyed watching Casual Day. Great acting, great script and good rhythm, which makes it a very nice watch. The story is centered upon a group of people working for a large multinational company who go for a company week-end away. It describes the ambitions, miseries and injustices that affect the workers of the company from many different perspectives. The negative side is that it is maybe excessively pessimistic, at the risk of being bias. However, one can imagine that there are companies where people are treated unfairly, with little humanity and where people feel deeply miserable but nonetheless trapped. On the good side, actors are at their very best and the plot is truly interesting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film describes how some companies in the informatics consulting
work (And maybe others in different sectors). Don't know how
informatics work in other countries, but in Spain externalization is
very common. A company hires an employee just to rent that employee to
another company to work there. But there are a bunch of companies that
mix this with a fierce corporativism. You are not only an employee, you
are a proud member of a sect.
Casual Day perfectly describes one of those companies. Companies where work is before personal life, where flattering the boss is more important than competence. Employees serve the company and feel guilty when day fail to do that. Good education hides an insatiable thirst for profits May be the film seems exaggerated to people who have never worked for such a company, but I assure you it is not exaggerated at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We are taken on trip to an isolated spot near Madrid where selected
executives of what appears to be a powerful company, have been summoned
for a group session in which issues within the organization will be
rehashed and discussed. Added to the agenda are mind games and
simulated war games in which the men are divided into two teams that
will fight their way into beating the other one in the battlefield. The
object of bringing the men is to find ways of how to work better as a
team, but unfortunately, it ends undoing most of the purposes for
meeting in the first place.
There is a prologue in which Ines, the daughter of Jose Antonio, the CEO, is talking about Ruy, a young executive who has just started in the firm, with Marta, an up and coming woman already working for the company. Marta, it turns out, had an affair with Ruy. All Ines is searching for is to know whether her present man and her girlfriend still feel something for one another.
Jose Antonio, the head of the corporation, keeps a close eye on Ruy, a new hire because his involvement with his daughter Ines. He wants to take the young man to the top, although being in close contact with his would be father-in-law does not exactly thrilled Ruy in the least. For Jose Antonio, success means a luxury car, better than everyone else. He does not mind letting Ruy drive it because that way he assures Ruy's relationship to Ines.
The sessions are misguiding. The subtle exercises, tests, and other work are aimed to create a better working relationship, but in reality, the men are being judged on other merits as well. The second in command, Cholo, is a man who seems to wield a lot of power. One of the executives is miffed for not having been recognized when he was the one responsible for a big project. Another man is on the process of separating from his wife, while another is the perfect 'brown nose' in the way he is forever flattering the big bosses.
"Casual Day" is an interesting study of the hypocrisy that is so prevalent in important companies all over the world. Max Lemcke directed with sure hand, moving his actors intelligently. This film kept reminding us of two other entries about the same subject, "Smoking Room" and "The Method". Mr. Lemcke and his screenplay writers Pablo and Daniel Remon build a solid plot, one in which only the strong will survive the survival in the job. It is the kind of 'dog eat dog' type of situation where even the smartest will be hurt in the game.
Good acting all around by this basically male cast. Juan Diego plays the corporation head with style, one of the best things we have seen him do. Javier Rios, whose late work seems to be in television, makes a complex Ruy, the young man who does not want to sell his soul. Luis Tosar is one of the darkest characters that works behind the scenes to destroy those that dare to oppose his views. Estivaliz Gabilondo makes an impression as Marta. The supporting players do an excellent job for Mr. Lemcke.
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