Talking Movies: Do Not Hesitate, Petite Maman and The Good Boss

Spling reviews Do Not Hesitate, Petite Maman and The Good Boss as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about a war drama, a drama and comedy drama screening online and at the Labia Theatre as part of the European Film Festival.

Starting off with…


Three young soldiers left to guard a military vehicle encounter a local boy.

Director: Shariff Korver

Stars: Joes Brauers, Spencer Bogaert and Tobias Kersloot

– This psychological war drama thriller from the Netherlands attempts to find a sliver of humanity in its hellish ordeal as the severity of an unexpected standoff escalates.
– Generating tension from culture shock and a series of ethical dilemmas, communication barriers exacerbate an already difficult trade exchange as a boy who feels shortchanged decides to become a thorn.
– Trying to reason with him, the protectors of the military vehicle find themselves alone and compromised, waiting for overdue rescue helicopters or the enemy to descend.
– Driven by authentic visuals, slow-boiling tension, solid performances and smart writing, Do Not Hesitate is a bold commentary using its character dynamics and state of flux to speak to overarching cultural and conflict issues.
– Creating suspense by having a “problem child” seesawing the balance between safety and danger, innocence and violence… the physiological and psychological pressure takes over.
– Headstrong performances and thoughtful drama play outs as each of the characters arrive with their own needs only to leave confused, traumatised and bewildered.
– A challenging viewing experience, maybe even shocking, the drum solo opening sequence recalls Whiplash and Sound of Metal as a possible tribute to the intensity of the music dramas.
– This artful war drama thriller remains taut, wading through timely geo-political issues on a macro level as a power struggle ensues between dislocated soldiers and a civilian.

It did just enough to an…

An excellent 8 on the splingometer!

Moving on to…


A girl helps her parents clean out her grandmother’s home only to meet a girl her age building a treehouse in the woods.

Writer-Director: Céline Sciamma

Stars: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz and Nina Meurisse

– This enchanting and tender drama examines memories, friendship and family as well as the nuances of a mother-daughter relationship with a twist of fantasy.
– A curious concept, taking an imaginary friend to the next level, this provocative idea creates a curious underlying tension.
– Centred primarily on the children, there’s an attempt to watch from an arm’s length as their playtime speaks to relational dynamics decades apart.
– Offering a naturalistic point-of-view, there’s something so innocent and pure about the interactions as they find a way to relate during a difficult season.
– Harbouring nostalgic pangs as a mother clears her own mother’s home, this is a beautiful and sensory experience trying to connect with the creative, emotional and tactile worlds of its subjects.
– Using its soundtrack very sparingly when it comes to music, it does have a sense of docudrama realism even if the mood and emotive undertones are subdued by the silence.
– Taking on a poetic quality simply by virtue of its intriguing premise of kids meeting and playing in the woods, this modern fairytale finds solace in the quiet moments as some of the simpler moments in life are amplified.
– Short at 72 minutes, it’s the slow-moving, intimate and tender atmosphere that helps absorb the shortfall.
– A special, sentimental and earnest drama, spurred by the gentle, playful and innocent relationship at its core, meaning is found in the contrast and context of a mother and daughter meeting each other eye-to-eye.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!

And finally…


A manufacturing business owner tries to resolve employee problems ahead of an awards committee evaluation.

Director: Fernando León de Aranoa

Stars: Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo and Almudena Amor

– The Good Boss is a dark comedy drama set against a workplace as a self-deluded boss attempts to be everything to everyone.
– Nominated for a prestigious award, comedy finds its way into every situation as the boss’s decisions backfire at the worst possible times.
– Staring down an HR disaster with one of his former employees picketing outside his offices, attempts to quell the one-man insurrection go from bad to worse.
– Employing a friend’s daughter as an intern, his office dalliances find the big boss man struggling to keep it all together.
– Bardem is completely invested in this charming and thoroughly entertaining performance making it fun to see his character squirm.
– Dealt a strong dose of schadenfreude, the keeping up appearances dark comedy slant finds the situation spiraling out of control.
– As the business award evaluation day draws closer and closer, he’s forced to take more risks, juggling and gambling with his position as a friend, employer and husband.
– Harbouring a complex character, who draws an equal measure of love and hate, it’s constantly entertaining to see him trying to keep the show on the road.
– Smart writing, biting comedy and some precarious dramatic scenarios keep a healthy tension to the ongoing fiasco as the company tries to rally.
– Using the scales as a symbol for justice and the good boss’s attempts to recalibrate, this seesawing satire has a wicked sense of humour and thrives on prickly comedic scenarios.

A solid 7 on the splingometer!

So just to wrap up…

DO NOT HESITATE… tension thrives in this bold, haunting, thought-provoking, well-acted and slow-burning psychological war drama thriller… An excellent 8!

PETITE MAMAN… while spare and short-lived, this intimate, tender and poetic dramatic portrait explores memories, family and childhood… A solid 7!

THE GOOD BOSS… a charming lead drives this entertaining, darkly comic and see-sawing workplace satire through its paces… A solid 7!

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