Writer/Director: John Wells
Running time: 114 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 11th March 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 26th February 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember when this film came out it caused a few ripples in the pool of critical acclaim. Not enough for it to be a massive hit, but enough for me to take notice. Of course it got added to ‘The List’ and the long wait for a TV airing began. It finally landed on my TV screen this week and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It turned out far better than I was expecting; quite a convoluted plot with several threads that have to be followed. I must say I did find it quite an enjoyable watch after a while. I will tell you more after this brief summary.
When three men get made redundant due to companies down-sizing after the financial crash they each deal with the fallout in different ways. We first follow sales executive Bobby Walker, in his mid-thirties with a young family. He seems to spend a long time in denial; convinced he will find another job in a few weeks. When, eventually the hard truth hits him, he finds it hard to adjust. His brother-in-law, Jack Dolan has to help him out by offering him a job and teaching him a few life-lessons on the side. We next follow Phil Woodward, a senior executive who is older and finds it even harder to adjust. Finally there’s Gene McClary, a CEO who tries his best to save jobs when all around him are acting ruthlessly. Of course, eventually he becomes a victim of it himself, but is he made of sterner stuff? I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be writing up my redundancy notice (again).
Very well made with some really good, if understated, performances; not least was Ben Affleck, whose portrayal of Bobby Walker hit the mark, but I didn’t feel he really shone. Tommy Lee Jones was great, as ever, as Gene McClary, as was Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward. I must also give honourable mentions to; Maria Bello as Sally Wilcox and Kevin Costner, who I felt was a bit underused, as Jack Dolan.
Having been made redundant twice in my lifetime I know just what these characters were going through. Although I did find it a little hard, at first, to empathise with a Porsche driving, golf playing executive; I work in a lab calibrating moisture measuring equipment when I’m not reviewing movies. However, when I saw the impact his predicament had on his family life I began to understand. It is a film of two halves, I found. The first dealing with the initial shock of events and the second dealing with how they’re going to cope with it and the impact it has on their lives. It’s not a particularly easy watch with quite a complicated plot and several threads to follow, but well worth a look if you stick it out to the end… Recommended.
My score: 6.7/10.
IMDb Score: 6.8/10 (based on 15,101 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 67/100 (based on 156 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 55/100 (based on 30,577 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Phil Woodward: You know the worst part?
Phil Woodward: The world didn't stop. The newspaper still came every morning; the automatic sprinklers went off at six. Jerry next door still washed his car every Sunday.
Phil Woodward: My life ended and nobody noticed.
HR Director: I'm confident all these dismissals will stand up under legal scrutiny.
Gene McClary: What about ethical scrutiny.
HR Director: We're not breaking any laws, Gene.
Gene McClary: I guess I always assumed were trying for a higher standard than that, Paul.
Bobby Walker: We work as hard in here every day as we did when we were trying to get a job, we'll be alright. What's the worst thing they can do, fire us?
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.companymenmovie.com/