While an increasingly heated demonstration against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund rages in the streets below, job candidates Carlos (Eduardo Noriega), Nieves (Najwa Nimri), Fernando (Eduard Fernandez), Ricardo (Pablo Echarri), Enrique (Ernesto Alterio), Julio (Carmelo Gomez) and Ana (Adriana Ozores) are ushered into a sleek conference room on the 35th floor of the Dekia tower by Montse (Natalia Verbeke), a pretty Dekia employee, and seated in front of flat-screen monitors. Though they've all been interviewed multiple times, just what Dekia actually does has never been addressed, and the candidates have never heard of this Gronholm Method, a mysterious indicator of group dynamics. It doesn't take long to realize that Montes' icily polite insistence that they fill out forms virtually identical to ones they've all filled out before is the beginning of the test. From there, the head games escalate, starting with the revelation that someone in the room is a member of Dekia's personnel department: Their first task is to root out the mole. As the tests become nastier and more probing, candidates begin to drop out, and as the group grows smaller, the competition becomes fiercer and more morally questionable. How far will the dwindling band of survivors go in pursuit of a job?
Argentine director Marcelo Pineyro's adaptation of Jordi Galceran Ferrer's play which he claimed was inspired by watching TV's The Apprentice may not shed any new light on corporate avarice or mendacity, but it gives a strong cast the opportunity to play a delicate game of psychological cat-and-mouse with the viewer. Their characters are all opportunists willing to massage the truth until it works for them. But while they're all committed to playing the pitiless game of getting ahead in business, they're not equally devious or ruthless: The devil is in the degrees. Pineyro and Ferrer have a fine old time teasing the viewer with the ongoing search for the corporate mole, and the final shot the first time we've left the building since the film's opening scenes is a quiet stunner. (In Spanish, with English subtitles.) leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh
Six candidates for an executive position at the Madrid-based Dekia Corporation arrive to have their mettle tested via the "Gronholm Method," a series of sneaky psychological tests expressly designed to bring out the worst in everyone.