Austin Film Festival – Review of “Company Men”

October 28th, 2010 at 12:47 pm by under Photo/Video

The Company Men

This review contains “spoilers”.

When I went to see “The Company Men” at the Austin Film Festival 2010, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was a last minute addition. Having seen it, I think  it’s a good movie. The acting is great, as it should be, given the acting pedigrees of the cast members Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Craig T. Nelson and Maria Bello. They all did a fantastic job.

But I am still a bit confused about the main point of the film. Is it a “feel good movie” about surviving the economic crash or is it meant to show how awful corporate greed is and how it destroyed more than jobs?

I liked that the movie showed how Bobby Walker’s family became closer even though they lost their home, the fancy car and all the other “toys” from their “pre-layoff” lives. I like that it showed Bobby’s emotional growth and the growth of his relationship with his brother-in-law.

What I did not like about the movie was how apathetic it was to the true depth of destruction the economic crash caused.  I don’t think it shows the damage after Phil Woodward takes his own life. It left too much to the imagination…sugar coated the aftermath. When Bobby Walker and his wife are discussing the selling of their home and the struggle to pay their bills, it didn’t show the true anger that every person in that situation would have felt, no matter HOW much they got along and loved each other. The transition from affluent to losing everything but each other, was much too soft…sugar coated. When Gene McClary finds out that he’s been let go along with Phil, does he react in anger? No. He goes and sleeps with the woman who fired them all.  James Salinger continues to spend money, building his new office, even while more employees are let go. The film does not give closure on his character, leaving the viewer unsure if he’s still out there living the lush life and not being held accountable for his greedy actions.

I realize that it is just a movie and we each bring our own backgrounds when we watch it. And I really do like this film. “The Company Men” is a good movie that celebrates Bobby Walker’s family coming together in adversity. It just left me scratching my head a bit over “what” the movie was really about.

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