The Company Men Directed by: John Wells Cast: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt Running Time: 1 hr 49 mins Rating: R Release Date: February 11, 2011
PLOT: The story centers on a year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company - and how that affects them, their families, and their communities.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you want a different perspective about the economic crisis, this film is a dramatic look at a big company trying to survive. It might be tough for some unemployed to watch.
EXPECTATIONS: Great cast. That's really all I knew. Based on the poster, we could be talking hit men or business men. I'm one of the people who thinks Affleck has always gotten a bad wrap.
ACTORS: Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker: Bobby comes in swinging his big stick. Seriously. Sure, he's talking about his golf game but you know from that first scene who this guy is. He sells and gets paid well for it. My first impulse is that I can't stand this guy. That's the point. But he grows on you. The pride and hubris he has is really where Affleck truly shines. Score: 8
Tommy Lee Jones as Gene McClary: He's the best darn executive in the world ... almost. Immediately with The Company Men this is the man you latch onto. He and James (Craig T. Nelson) started the company and now he's thinking about the people, whereas James is thinking about the profits. As soon as you fall for Gene completely you realize he has some issues as well involving Sally (Maria Bello). Score: 9
Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward: No college education. 60 years old, Phil is holding onto a job with all the fear in the world. Cooper is good, but this character felt slightly one-note. The highlight for him is the line he drops about his wife making him carry an empty briefcase so the neighbors wouldn't know there were job problems. Score: 6
Rosemarie DeWitt as Maggie Walker: Behind every good man is a great woman. This is the "how to" manual for what a partner should do for their mate if possible. Maggie is strong for her family and constantly shows Bobby the necessary strength and love he needs, whether he can accept it or not. Score: 8
Kevin Costner as Jack Dolan: Jack is a working man and the brother of Maggie. Jack and Bobby constantly go back and forth and it's a little black and white, but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. You can just tell Costner is absolutely loving this character. Score: 7
TALKING: The strength of this movie really is the way they're able to turn rich people into sympathetic characters. There is compassion where I didn't think I would find any. Again, the busting balls between Jack and Bobby is also amusing. Score: 8
SIGHTS: It's mostly basic stuff. The cinematography never detracts from the film. The passage of time is shown through minor moments with major holidays. We see quick shots of Halloween and Easter, which I think I like more than people saying, "It's been four months! I need a job." Score: 7
SOUNDS: There is actually plenty of silence with this film as they really do try and give the emotion its own moment. Jack cranks some classic rock while working on the job. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: The one piece of dialogue that hits the best for me is the final talk with Gene and James talking about what the company meant and now means. Most movies would show a chink in the armor of James, not this one.
ENDING: Very affective. It gets you fired up and proud of working Americans.
QUESTIONS: What if Costner's character didn't exist? Bobby would have done what exactly for work? I wanted to see that movie.
REWATCHABILITY: While the subject matter is a little uncomfortable, I could easily sit through this film again.
Who does The Company Men think it is? With people desperate for any job, starving, losing their homes (not selling) and lives truly falling apart, The Company Men instead focuses on businessmen that are the top one percent income earners in our country.
Well, it turns out The Company Men is a very well-crafted story about three men struggling within a company. Most people will be drawn in to this well acted, well written story of trying to find your way in a system that is changing.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10