‘Hard Work, Balance, Loyalty’ are the values proudly inscribed on the walls of successful industrial scales company Basculas Blanco. Boss and community bigwig Blanco (Bardem) promotes himself as a father figure to his staff-as-family. However, just as his factory is shortlisted for a local business award, Blanco quickly turns abusive parent while having to firefight potential catastrophes – a sacked employee’s public protest, his right-hand man’s marital breakdown, his own misjudged fling with an intern.
His devious, desperate schemes generate the film’s escalating, wickedly black humour, expertly calibrated by writer-director Fernando Léon de Aranoa (A Perfect Day, 2015). Wonderful, too, to see Bardem centre stage again, embodying the toxic, entitled Blanco, whose mentality continues to make the modern corporate world so fertile a country for rich old men.