Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Gentlemen's Wager

In The Company Of Men(1997)
Directed By Neil Labute

I was kinda speechless, by the end. Two men decide to get revenge on womankind in general, for being dumped, by dating the same woman at the same time, then dumping her simultaneously.They want someone who would be overwhelmed by the sudden attention, someone lonely, plain, innocent, and who had given up on any chance on romance, so that when they do pull the rug out from under her "she'll be reaching for the sleeping pills in a week". They have six weeks, while they put their corporations new office together, and they find a nice, sweet, deaf typist. This is easily one of the most venomous things Ive ever watched, with male camaraderie reminiscent of Hitchcock's "Rope". Aaron Echkhart is charming, clever, and insidious, his friend Howard who goes along with his plan, his worse. The plan takes unexpected turns, as it must to stretch this premise to an hour and a half. The dialogue is sharp and realistic, the editing is great, scenes start and stop exactly where they should. The in-titles, with the war drums, reminded of "The Shinning". It''s a dark comedy sure, but it could be a horror movie.To start speculating on the symbolism, of the corporate and emotional lifestyles of the characters, would give away too much I think (but to say a little for those who've seen it already, I personally don't buy nihilist curiosity. I think it's as coldly simple as wanting to get a better job). Ive known guys like this, to a less dramatic extent of course. Ive even been bitter and small enough at times, to sympathize with a few of their opening remarks, "the whole phone fade out thing...". But this movie takes these emotions and expands them, till the ugly details squirm about, like the insects in the grass in "Blue Velvet". The scene with the intern is "power" incarnate.Anyway, it' amazing, startling, skillful, and funny (in the worst ways possible), from start to finish. A great movie, that will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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