|$||70.1M||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|$||35.7M||Iron Man 3|
|$||23.9M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||3.2M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 22, 2013|
The H.R. manager investigates why Yulia stopped working for his company nearly a month prior to her death yet she continued to remain in their system as “employed”. She earned at least one paycheck for doing absolutely nothing. While investigating this anomaly, Mr. H.R. manager finds out the night foreman had fallen in love with Yulia despite being married. They shared cigarette breaks and had an unfortunate and ill-timed romance. Yulia worked as a cleaning woman scrubbing the floors of the bakery. She was kept illegally on the payroll by her boyfriend. This gesture would have been acceptable as a show of concern and basic humanity but no good deed goes unpunished.
On account of the bakery listing Yulia as a company worker, they are forced to go into full damage control mode as a result of her death while in their employ. The owner, known only as “the widow” (Gila Almagor) demands that her hand-picked H.R. manager take care of every little detail to avoid a companywide scandal. Apparently, there is a tabloidist following their every move. He photographs the H.R manager nearby the coffin purchased by the company for the deceased.
Mr. H.R. is getting divorced and can never seem to find the time to spend with his ailing daughter. When he is ordered by the widow and Yulia’s family to bring her coffin to the frozen tundra in the Soviet Union (really filmed in Romania), H.R. is in danger of missing his daughter’s school trip. Every step of the way there is a complication. Many of the bureaucratic ineptitudes they face in the cross-country sojourn are labeled as “comical” by many, but to me they are morbid and unusual.
The insistence on emphasizing the bakery’s complicity despite the facts sets up for a bizarre premise that I do not feel is realistically sustainable. Yulia is Christian and her family wants her cremated, yet she is carted around by a mere H.R. manager in an expensive coffin like the Queen of England all for positive public relations. Shepherding a cleaning woman through the mountains is certainly not your ordinary joy ride. Yulia, like anyone else deserves a proper send off, but her life is glamorized in a sense by the pains the H.R. manager, the muckraker and the widow take to secure her place with her elderly mother in the middle of nowhere.
The Human Resources Manager will not make it onto my list of terrific independent films this or any other year. It starts out with a hint of sleuth work and mystery but it ends with the abuse of comedy and ineptitude. The film drags on for far too long and what originally seemed like a good concept turned into a bore and a snore. Watch this one only if you are a serious movie enthusiast that loves foreign films. This is no Ajami, that’s for sure!
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