Review: The Company Men (2011)
Give 'em the boot
I'm proud of Ben Affleck these days. You could call his current career path a comeback, even though he never really went anywhere to begin with. Someone must have grabbed him by the shirt collar a couple years ago and told him to stop with all the rom/com and cheesy action stuff and get back to holding out for the choice scripts.
The Company Men marks the third straight Ben Affleck film that not only doesn't suck, but actually rocks in and of itself. And his second straight awesome acting performance. I feel like maybe Affleck was a great actor all along, he just chose shitty movies that were so bad they made everyone in them look silly. I'm sure it helped that he directed the last movie he did so well in.
Whatever the case, he's on a roll right now and The Company Men proves it. The Company Men is a film that will strike a painful note with many Americans I'm sure, and hopefully inspire them to gain back what they lost in the financial meltdown a couple years ago.
More than anything though, it will probably serve as little more than a painful reminder of that time as the end of the film, very much a Hollywood feel good one through and through, just won't be the reality for a lot of unemployed 'company men' out there.
I've never been so attached to a job that the loss of it would affect me nearly as much as it does the guys in this film. Granted I've never made upwards of $100,000 a year, or had a BMW to pay off and a mansion in an upscale neighbourhood to maintain, so it's a little hard to connect to these characters on an emotional in that way. That doesn't distract from the realistic feel of the film and well drawn characters though. You feel as if each character could be a thousand people in any given city in the States, or in Canada for that matter.
Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Craig Mathers play the company men of the title, all working for the same multi-million dollar company as the company is hit with massive lay off and cut backs thanks to the deteriorating economy. I'm not going to say what happens to whom, but something significant happens in regards to all of them at some point in the film.
Kevin Costner is great in a supporting role as a carpenter working his fingers to the bone trying to make ends meet. Costner is another guy who has redeemed himself in films over the last few years.
What works well in Company Men isn't so much excitement as it is just real drama. Like The Social Network, The Company Men is a snapshot of a certain period in American history and the way it affected millions of Americans. It's well written, very well acted, and apart from an overly sugary ending, well told. There's been a number of well made documentaries on America's economic collapse, this is probably the first great fiction film on the subject.