Written by SIAN CAIN
The Company Men focuses on the lives of three men in the same company during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and the repercussions of corporate downsizing in America. When explained like this it sounds quite interesting, right? Another way to summarise The Company Men
The cast is quite good.
The script is quite good (could’ve been braver, but good).
The film looks quite good.
But the movie is only okay.
The main problem with the film is the limited scope of the characters. The movie deliberately follows the lives of middle-aged, rich men who all have big homes, big cars and big egos. With the GFC still so fresh in people’s minds, it is very hard to summon the passion to feel for three men who were, quite frankly, very over privileged to start with.
You watch, mildly interested, as Ben Affleck is forced to sell his Porsche and relocate his family to his parent’s nearby and equally big home. You watch, somewhat entertained, as Tommy Lee Jones continues to screw the woman who fired him and hide it from his wife. But you will not leave this film feeling like any of it mattered in the end. The majority of the characters, having learnt a bit about not having everything, wind up somewhere close to what they had before; and that is having quite a lot.
This cinematic approach to the GFC may have worked better sometime in the future but in 2011, three years on, there are still people who have nothing left. That is far more interesting and, quite frankly, worth an almost two hour movie. The GFC was covered recently, and much more interestingly, in Inside Job, a 2010 documentary that contained a lot more anger and passion for the people affected. That was almost three hours long but seemed like nothing, whereas The Company Men seems to drag on much longer.
The best way to sum it up is this: some day in the future, when kids learn about the GFC in economics and/or history class they will watch Inside Job. They will not watch this movie.