THE COMPANY MEN Movie Review
THE COMPANY MEN Movie Review – The Company Men is the story of a group of colleagues who are subjected to layoffs in their company and have to struggle to find their way back to normality. The movie stars Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt, and is directed & written by John Wells.
There is a lot to like about The Company Men. Strong performances, intense dialogue, a realistic storyline and a perfectly a-propos topic in light of the deep economic woes faced by the country. Anyone who has ever been laid off can easily relate to the trials and tribulations of the principal characters who are faced with the terrifying prospect of finding a new job. Anyone can also easily turn around and point the finger at the evil corporate forces that are behind this untold tragedy.
While everything said previously is true, it is also true that there is a lot to dislike about the movie. The almost simplistic stereotype of the good worker unfairly fired after years of loyal service is fed to us as a matter fact. It is not questioned or debated in any way shape or form. Yes they were good workers but were their jobs necessary? Is it possible that although they were possibly the victims of corporate greed more interested in profits, they may also have really been victims of their times with a rampant global expansion and technological leaps that make entire industries and professions moot. It would have been nice if that had been addressed more forcefully in The Company Men.
Furthermore, there is a constant sense of tragedy surrounding the laid off employees brought on by clichés ranging from the awkward job interviews to the humbling moment when they realize that they might have to downsize and maybe take a paycut. Ok, getting fired has horrible consequences; we get it but how is that a surprise? People must always assume that job precarity is the norm and not the exception. With that assumption, you have to approach each job/opportunity as something that will NOT last. Would it have killed any of these characters to save some money for rainy days instead of taking out loans to go on ski trips? At least, I wish The Company Men had introduced one more character that would have broken the stereotypical mold by saying “Fine, I’ll take the severance. Job sucked anyways. Call of Duty here I come”. Anything to break the cliché would have been welcomed.
So with that said, is The Company Men a must watch? Maybe. Ultimately, it all depends whether you are in the mood for being depressed or cheered up. I can guarantee you that cheering up is not what this movie is made for. However, regardless of the mood, the great acting and strong dialogue might be enough for you to overcome the depressing topic and the boring clichés that pepper the movie.
The Company Men is released to theaters today, Friday January 21, 2011.