Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Amazon DVD Reviews: "The Company Men"

The Company MenThe New Normal 
3 Out of 5 Stars

Bobby (Ben Affleck) is your typical white collar success story. He has a great job at a conglomerate company, a pretty neat boss, Gene (Tommy Lee Jones), a good wife and two kids in a fabulous New England home. Then the crash of 2008 occurs and Bobby's job, despite twelve years at GTX (a transportation company of some sort), wasn't so valuable after all. Soon he has to figure out what his measure of a man truly is, and it's not pretty. "The Comapny Men" focuses mostly on Bobby's struggle, but it is an ensemble film with strong support from Chris Cooper, who struggles with the realization that a man pushing 60 in this job market is paddling upstream against younger and cheaper help, Kevin Costner, a contractor who is (IMHO) written into a cliched part, Craig T Nelson, the CEO making 22 million as he downsized left and right, and Mario Bello as the HR director who begins to doubt her ethics.

This is not an easy movie to watch, as it probably cuts a bit too close to the bone in a country facing 9% unemployment. Bobby and Phil (Cooper) soon finding that there are sacrifices both intentional and unintentional that have to be made for the sake of survival. There's also underlying messages about being prepared for the future and just how much we've thrown away for "kids working for a dollar a day" (as Costner's character unsubtly jibes Bobby incessantly). People are losing their cars, homes, families and lives in reality; "The Company Men" holds up an unflinching camera to this world. It's a good movie, just don't expect a feel-good wrap at the end.

 The Town State of Play (2009) Gone Baby Gone

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