The Method

"Very Good"

The Method Review


The reality television metaphors come flying at you fast and thick in Spanish filmmaker Marcelo Piñeyro's The Method, which provides for a lot of easy audience identification -- hey, I've seen Survivor -- but makes it just a bit too recognizable for comfort, at least until the end, when its existential modus operandi becomes terrifyingly clear. There are plenty of other comparisons to be drawn from this exercise in business-world gamesmanship, from Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross to LaBute's In the Company of Men, though Piñeyro's has a more gender-neutral agenda: in short, women are just as exceptional bastards as men.

Set almost entirely in a nicely-appointed conference room in a Madrid office building, The Method begins with a very telling split-screen montage: As we watch the characters go about their morning routines, traffic is piling up and the streets thickening with protestors. The IMF-World Bank conference is in town and the anti-globalization forces are marshalling for a Seattle-esque day of angry confrontation. But this is of little concern to the seven, who have taken advantage of the protests (many offices have shut down for the day) to go to a group interview for an executive job at Dexia Corporation. Of course, we are never privy to knowing what it is that Dexia does, but such specifics are entirely beside the point.

The fanged screenplay by Piñeyro and Mateo Gil (The Sea Inside, Vanilla Sky) is a last-man-standing battle of wills as the seven -- all well-scrubbed, smartly dressed, confident, and highly articulate -- wage psychological warfare around a long table. Dexia's "method" seems extreme at first, but it wouldn't be surprising if it already exists out there in some Darwinian management book. There is no interview, per se, instead the candidates are given messages and tasks to perform on the computer screens in front of them; after each task another candidate is eliminated. It's all very worthy of a mid-season replacement show on Fox: First, they're told one of them is a Dexia mole who must be smoked out. Later, they have to imagine they're in a bomb shelter after the apocalypse and only have supplies for five: who do they get rid of? Dexia plays some subtler tricks, as well, serving the candidates a foul-smelling lunch. At first, most avoid eating it, but all it takes is a couple guilt-inducing lines from the secretary and soon they're all diving in.

We've seen these sorts of contests being played before, and at first it's hard for The Method to sustain much interest. It's clear that personalities will slowly be teased out of each of the candidates as the tasks become more intense, that Dexia will toy with them invisibly (the only present member of the corporation is a young and rather inscrutable secretary, first seen contentedly shredding documents, a telling nod to the disposability of everyone showing up for the interview) until cracks appear in their smooth business facades. The dialogue is snappy, though, and it's intriguing to see how the different personality types are laid out by a Spanish filmmaker, from the weaselly bootlicker to the gruff and arrogant paragon of "Iberian macho." The presence of two women among the seven -- one a sultry type who has a romantic past with one of the men, and the other a middle-aged music executive whose can-do spirit and bright smile are ratcheted too high for reality -- adds a brittle tension to the dynamic, particularly later on when one of them is sprawled out on the couch in a feline post-coital slumber.

What keeps Piñeyro's film from seeming like just another entry in the annals of corporate-world satires is the knowledge that no matter how far these people and this corporation go to seal themselves off and act out their psychological warfare, there is an inescapable reality awaiting them all. In one telling scene, we see the candidates from outside the building, the soundtrack the deafening roar of the protesting crowds fighting for the future. As The Method winds down to its final betrayal (Is work more important than love or friendship? Do you have to ask?), the hollowness of it all becomes deafening as well. They play self-important and self-gratifying games in the climate-controlled vacuum of a room, while down on the street, the world is happening.

Aka El Método.



The Method

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd September 2005

Distributed by: Palm Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Marcelo Piñeyro

Producer: Ricardo García Arrogo, , Francisco Ramos

Starring: as Carlos, as Nieves, Eduard Fernández as Fernando, Pablo Echarri as Ricardo, as Enrique, as Montse, as Ana, Carmelo Gómez as Julio

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.