The Boss [2018 Amando Leingkone Short Film] Review

Genre: Comedy/Mockumentary
Year Released: 2018
Distributor: Unlicensed
Origin: Vanuatu
Running Time: 7 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: The Last OG, He Died With a Falafel In His Hands, Billy Madison, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
-The Boss is streaming on YouTube.
Fun Facts:
-Vanuatu is a country in Oceana. The capital is Port Vila and the island nation has over 307,000 people living there. Vanuatu has three official languages: English, French, and Bislama which is an English-based Creole that is the main language in The Boss.

-The Boss was featured in the Namatan Short Film Festival which is Vanuatu’s premier festival in that country. It won the People’s Choice Award in 2018.

-Outside of directing, filmmaker Amando Leingkone is a former youth leader and helped design the first-ever solar light community in Vanuatu called Namba 2 Lagoon in 2021. This project is obviously environmentally-friendly and it also solved the problem of the community being in the dark during the nights.

-Music Fan Bonus: There is an instrumental version of the song “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran playing near the end of the film during that romantic scene.

This is almost a cliche at this point if anyone knows me or this blog, but I watched something from a new country for Iridium Eye! Even though I didn’t have any concrete goals for this year given how my life has been, I still wanted to review something from a nation I never saw a movie from or at the very least wasn’t featured on here before. This example comes from the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. I’m sure some of you have never heard of Vanuatu before. The only things I knew about that country were the flag design (it’s red, green, black, and yellow in case you didn’t know), it was one of the nations used in a season of Survivor even though I haven’t watched that show in ages, and it is a majority Melanesian country. I had curiosity about that place, so what better way than to look at the cinema based in this part of Oceania. Much like Kiribati getting some shine last year with Aranuka Mermaid, I thought I would delve into another obscure country with one of their own short films.

Let’s boss it up for this little film.

The Boss is about the life of the title character (he doesn’t have a given name). He is living lavishly in the city by owning various businesses, having several employees at each workplace, has a fancy condominium, and fancy cars. He’s all smiles as he gets to be a boss and manages to have a fling with someone named Precious whom he texts very frequently. This boss is looking forward to spending time with this woman by taking her out to dinner after showing off his luxurious toys to the camera. How will this pan out for the wealthy businessman?

This was a quirky little watch from the South Pacific. The presentation does grab your attention right away with the title character showing off his lavish lifestyle to the viewer like he was on an episode of MTV Cribs. It was a good touch as it breaks the fourth wall but never gets excessive with it. Even though I can tell it was fictional, the mockumentary/docufiction style of the filming most of the time felt organic and made the movie look believable. If this were filmed like a sitcom, it wouldn’t have been all that effective. Some of the musical choices made this funny with the bombastic hip-hop instrumentals, the intentionally cheesy Ed Sheeran cover, and the EDM sprinkled in added to the atmosphere. The acting was sufficient enough for the project to work. While I don’t expect any of them to win an Oscar or Emmy anytime soon, they seemed to know what they were doing. The Boss was also my first exposure to hearing the Bislama language. Despite being a different language, I could still understand what was going on without subtitles since there are still English words naturally used in that tongue given how it’s rooted in English anyway. There are movies and series I’ve seen in languages I’m more familiar with that I couldn’t easily grasp as much with the dialogue, so this is more accessible to the English-speaking audience than anyone would give credit for. It is a big plus over there and I know people would still comprehend what is being said despite the accents and Bislama on display. After doing some additional research, 95% of Bislama involves English words, but the grammar is rooted in multiple native Melanesian languages. Trust me, subtitles won’t be necessary if you’re fluent in English.

The Boss does get demoted from being a masterpiece. I’m fine with the no-frills filming approach, the production did have some issues. The audio fading during the dialogue did feel forced and far too obvious. The text message interlays did feel very cheesy and too basic from an editing standpoint. There was a limited cast with it basically being the title character, the Precious character, random employees, and someone else who shows up at the tail end which I won’t spoil. Speaking of the Precious character…talk about unfortunate naming. How can I best say this? If you weren’t thinking about Gabourey Sidibe’s most famous (or infamous) role when you saw her name even for a second, then you’re a better person than I am. As I continue to talk about this romance situation, it’s strongly implied that she’s a side chick to the Boss’s wife and it wasn’t very subtle. It’s not just because of the character, but because of a remix of a famous early 00s song playing before the dating scene. What song, you ask? “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy and Rayvon! How subtle. I do have an issue with the ending. While it did provide a twist that gave me a chuckle, it uses one of my least favorite cliches, and saying what trope was used will spoil the whole movie. I’ve rarely seen it done well except for a very certain German movie involving a cabinet if anyone gets the hint.

This entry into Vanuatuan cinema was alright, but nothing too special. I did get a few laughs which is the bare minimum for a comedy. The production was competent despite some background audio issues. It was nice seeing a lavish side of the South Pacific, but the presentation did get flawed and was too overt. The Boss is fine for some laughs and worth a few minutes of your time, but nothing amazing.

Adjustable Point System:
-Add 1-2 points if you like comedic short films.
-Add 1 point if you like seeing the richer side of lesser-known countries.
-Subtract 1-2 points if you prefer high-quality production.
-Subtract 2-3 points if you like more overt comedies

-Nice reality show/mockumentary style filming
-Accessible story despite Bislama language
-Competent acting

-Limited cast
-The ending is very cliche
-Music issues with the audio production

Final Score: 6/10 points

Content Advisory: The Boss would be a safe watch. The only objectionable thing would be the implied cheating from the main character and it’s accentuated with the “It Wasn’t Me” remix. If anyone knows about that song, you can clearly hear the chorus including the “we were both buck naked” line in the background.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos and videos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. The Boss is the property of Amando Leingkone. The screenshot is from YouTube and is the property of Amando Leingkone.

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