Posted July 20, 2011 by Alex Moss Editor in C
 
 

Company Men, The


The Credit Crunch hits Hollywood and produces this clever and fun drama.

The Credit Crunch hits Hollywood and produces this
clever and fun drama.

Given the dour
economic times we live in it was only a matter of time before Hollywood saw the
opportunity to cash in on all the doom mongering. While countless documentaries
inject a ‘no light at the end of the tunnel’ mentality, The Company Men at
least offers a semblance of potential hope in its otherwise bleak world.

Bobby (Affleck), Gene (Lee Jones) and Phil (Cooper)
all work at GTX, a global company that deals in everything from shipping to
health care. But, when the credit crunch hits GTX start to downsize. Bobby is
the first to go and struggles to understand his place in the world outside of
the cooperate office and golf club. Meanwhile executive Gene cannot agree with
the company’s attitude towards its employees. Phil though has worked his way up
from the factory floor and is closing on 60, he can but hope he holds onto his
job.

It would be too
easy to evoke pathos by focusing on the hardworking factory workers who
systematically lose their jobs when a company makes cuts. Instead writer
director John Wells chooses to look
at those who were down the halls from the bigwigs. The cooperate stooges and
salesmen who assume that their jobs are safe. They’re not quite bankers, the
most obvious villains at this point in time, but nor are they ‘everyday men and
women’. They drive fancy cars, live in very expensive houses, play golf and get
bonuses that would probably clear Third World Debt.

Given his
background in TV show The West Wing,
as a writer producer, Wells knows how to make culturally labeled ‘unlikeable’
people, more than likeable. Sure the characters of The Company Men are flawed
but they’re honest and real and gradually grow to realise that there is more to
life than money. It’s often generalised, Bobby learns that building something
with your hands can be more fulfilling than raking in the money and that family
will provide him happiness, but in doing so draws you in to all the highs and
lows of the lives we follow.

Although the
visuals are flat the film comes to life through the performances. Ben Affleck
continues to blaze his come-back trail and here gives the kind of performance
he has always been capable of. As Bobby he is both frustrated and angry while
never too proud in expressing his obvious pride and shortcomings. Tommy Lee
Jones is on typically grizzled form but finds believable moral in what could
have been a stereotypical role. As ever though it is Chris Cooper who wins the
heart. Arguably Hollywood’s go to guy for hang-dog expression, here you bleed
with him when everything collapses and he refuses to let his family suffer, or
indeed know.

It is probably
aiming to be a socially significant update to Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) but falls short of the whip-smart
dialogue. Where The Company Men works well though is instilling a sense of
pride, belief and heart that we all hope will see us through the rough patches.

To Buy The Company Men On DVD Clicker Here Or On Blu-Ray Click Here


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com