The Company Men: movie review
The Company Men: Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner illustrate our recession trauma in this latest release.
Someday there will be a film festival of movies about the Great Recession, just as there have been festivals over the years devoted to Depression-era movies. Most of these movies, then and now, are far more interesting as sociology than as art.Skip to next paragraph
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With this in mind, you might want to wait for that hypothetical festival rather than hand over your hard-earned cash to see “The Company Men,” starring Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker, a hotshot executive at a Boston-based manufacturing corporation who is suddenly laid off. The writer-director John Wells hauls out all of the standard tropes – the grim motivational training seminars, the unfeeling CEO (Craig T. Nelson), Bobby’s aged co-worker (Chris Cooper) who joins him in the cold, etc. – but despite the all-too-harrowing familiarity of these scenes, they seem more like illustrations than dramatizations of trauma.
A curious white-collar/blue-collar dichotomy is at work in this film: Bobby finds recompense and redemption in his surly brother-in-law’s building construction business. (Kevin Costner plays the brother-in-law.) Are we supposed to think that only those people who “work with their hands” are safe in this economy? Grade: B- (Rated R for language and brief nudity.)