The Company Men
The Company Men is an interesting film. It contains a mix of some of my favourite, and least favourite actors, and has the unenviable task of being a political tail about a depressing subject. So much for DVDs being a fun night in!
The Company Men is set in Boston and takes a cold hard look at the lives of four very different men, all working for the same company. When corporate downsizing forces hotshot, six-figure salaried salesman (played by Ben Affleck) to be made redundant, he gradually looses all the things he holds dear, and bases his worth on; his country club member ship, his Porsche, his house and in his own eyes, when he has to move his family in with his parents and take a blue collar job with his brother in law, his dignity.
The corporate downsizing, a process used to inflate stock prices in an effort to avoid a takeover and maximize profits, also hits Chris Cooper’s character, a middle manager whose rise from the factory floor has seen him loyal to the company his whole life, finds his redundancy all the more worse due to his unemployable age.
Tommy Lee Jones and Craig T Nelson play the other two men, with Jones being executive management and Nelson being the CEO. With his privileged position saves Jones from the redundancy letter for most of the film, it comes in due course, but has little effect on his lifestyle, though his higher than average moral views do.
For the most part The Company Men plays out like a cross between a good solid made for TV drama and a Michael Moore documentary. The use of this fictional tale has a similar weight to showing us the reality of share value based economies as anything Moore has done, but sadly as a film it lacks a little something that will lessen the impact by allowing viewers to switch off.
The main reason I watched The Company Men was to see what John Wells could produce in his feature film debut. With a rock solid history in television, and the man behind two of my favourite TV dramas, ER and West Wing, I was looking forward to seeing what he could deliver.
In post viewing reflection, The Company Men fails as a film in some aspects, but most noticeably, it screams about what it should have been; a TV show. TV shows give more time on character development, and can look at more of the little stories that make up the big stories. There was enough in The Company Men to make a fairly decent first season, and with the way the film ended, it had enough of a future story for a second season at least.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read