reviewer: Michael Hill
Rated: 15(UK)
Release Date: 1st August,  2011
DirectorJohn Wells
Cast:   Ben AffleckChris Cooper ,Tommy Lee JonesKevin Costner

The Company Men is the directorial feature debut of John Wells, who is mainly known for his producing hundreds of hours of television, namely ER and The West Wing, and a mighty fine debut it is. The film follows three employees at a shipping firm all at different levels in the firms hierarchy, who are made redundant and their struggle with unemployment in the recession. They are portrayed by Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones, all of which put in great performances, arguably some of the best work of their career.

Affeck plays a corporate ladder climbing businessman with a flashy car, big house, beautiful wife and kids, though loses everything bar his family when he loses his job. He ends up exchanging his white collar for a blue one and works as a labourer for his brother-in-law played by Kevin Costner. Cooper is a more senior figure in the company though he has children in college and like Affleck’s character, he is living beyond his means and his life is turned upside down when he is given the pink slip. Jones plays a CEO and co-funder of the firm with marital problems due to his affair with the human resources rep who is being ordered to fire everyone and eventually he is given the sack by her.

The movie could be seen as the side of the story to that shown Jason Reitman’s film Up In The Air and is obviously very timely to the global economic downturn. The film was not released widely in America and could have done with some Oscar buzz to drum up any serious business at the box office, though it had a moderate budget of $15 million and should do well by word of mouth sales of Dvds and will no doubt be well-played on television networks due to it’s subject and acting talent.

The film looks beautiful which should come as no surprise as it was shot by Roger Deakins who has been the cinematographer of choice for The Coen Brothers since Barton Fink. Aaron Zigman’s score is also great and together they work really effectively setting the tone and emotion when needed.

To sum up The Company Men is a very well written and acted film that protrays the struggle of corporate downsizing and job hunting in a recession in a relatable way, and while that might not seem like something you want to sit down and watch, it is a moving character study steeped in realism. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has ever lost their job as you will not doubt relate to it and feel for the characters.

Extras – None

movie rating: 4/5