Stageplay adaptation determines who's hired and fired in Madrid

The Method

on July 06, 2007 by John P. McCarthy
Budding thespians might be disappointed to learn this Spanish movie isn't about the influential approach to their craft once taught by Lee Strasberg at The Actors Studio in New York or the contemporary Bravo cable series that takes viewers inside it. The title refers to the hiring tactic of a multinational corporation based in Madrid. Not to worry, though, there's plenty of fine acting to study in the slick adaptation of Jordi Galceran's stageplay.

While protests against a World Bank-IMF conference rage on the streets below, five male and two female candidates for a position at Dexia Corporation are locked in a high-rise conference room. Rather than conventional interviews, human resources—following the “Gronholm Method” of personnel selection—puts the well-coiffed and qualified professionals through a series of joint tests to determine who will get the job.

First off, they learn that one among them is a company mole and must vote on who they think it might be. Second, they choose a leader, who is immediately exposed as a former corporate whistleblower, prompting a vote on whether he should be disqualified. Tension escalates during a “lifeboat” exercise in which each must argue why they should be allowed to stay in a secure shelter following a nuclear holocaust. Whenever someone is ousted, his or her computer goes dark and a female voice cheerily intones, “It's over.” Two candidates—Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Nieves (Najwa Nimir)—had a fling a few years back that inevitably comes into play, as does the boorish behavior of a third applicant (Eduard Fernandez) who exemplifies the “Iberian macho.”

To their credit, the filmmakers don't let the concept turn gimmicky. It's too bad the political themes aren't developed further, and momentum does flag during the talky piece. But people coping with the stress of being cerebrally and emotionally manipulated makes for ample drama and humor. After watching The Method , you'll think twice the next time you go for a job interview. Distributor: Palm
Cast: Eduardo Noriega, Najwa Nimri, Eduard Fernandez, Pablo Echarri, Ernesto Alterio, Natalia Verbeke, Adriana Ozores and Carmelo Gomez
Director: Marcelo Pineyro
Screenwriters: Mateo Gil and Marcelo Pineyro
Producers: Gerardo Herrero and Francisco Ramos
Genre: Dramatic comedy thriller; Spanish-language, subtitled
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 115 min.
Release date: July 6, 2007 NY
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