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IN THE COMPANY OF MEN

SYNOPSIS:
Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and Howard (Matt Malloy), two junior executives en route to a project in the city confide to each other the various frustrations of their lives - in particular those with women, having both been recently rejected by their respective girlfriends. In an attempt to get even with the female gender, Chad devises a cruel game plan, to find a suitably vulnerable young woman and simultaneously date her, to get her to fall in love with them both - and then both unceremoniously dump her. Howard reluctantly agrees. All goes accordingly to plan until, far too late, what began as a nasty prank is revealed as being deadly serious, with a struggle between the two men at the heart of the battle. The woman (Stacy Edwards) is only a means to an end, a pawn easily captured and tossed aside in a dark, wicked duel for corporate ascension.

"The strength of this uncomfortable yet irresistable film lies in its writing, with the performances a close second. Savage is the word that comes to mind as we watch – mesmerised - the manipulative Chad turn his evil game into a living nightmare for both Howard and Christine. Chad is the epitome of a serious control freak; a real bastard in the bedroom and the boardroom. It is a confronting film for many, and this reviewer has already felt the power of the emotions it unleashes in those who dislike it: only a moron could like this movie, I was told. (The speaker had walked out half way through the film.) Now, any film that polarises opinion so strongly has a claim to longevity; not only will it be hotly debated, it will be variously misunderstood and derided for being what it is not. It is risky filmmaking only because it risks that alienation. It also has a final payoff that turns our heads and hearts around a bit. For those who take their tea strong, their vodka straight and their emotions on the chin, In the Company of Men is a jolting, sometimes jocular exposition of human corruption, a walk on the uglier side of ambition and mental cruelty, intelligently done. But you must stay to the very end."
Andrew L. Urban

"Stunning, strident, bold and black, this is a film that is refreshingly different, with an intriguing, absorbing premise. At times bleak, there are laughs which can only be described as squirmy; uncomfortable confrontations that are often in bad taste, but nonetheless compelling. The writing and directing marry beautifully: the whole conversation which sets up the premise starts in a airport courtesy lounge, continues in the plane, in a train, then a bar, in the hotel room, in the toilet…. The relationships (between Chad and Howard, as well as between Christine and the two men) become a reality through these conversations, a fascinating formula that works extremely effectively. The concept is in fact a mission: a mission of obsession about control and power. The performances by the three leads are seductive and unforgettable. Aaron Eckhart is stunning as Chad, the epitome of the insincere, callous user, who plays with and discards human emotions easily and without conscience. Eckhart manages to keep intrigue in the balance, and it is easy to be totally beguiled by him. Stacy Edwards (Christine) creates an unforgettable character - gentle, warm, honest and with a conscience; the absolute converse of Chad. In the Company of Men is an amazing film, one that shines for its uniqueness, extraordinarily executed."
Louise Keller

"This is the kind of movie that they could never make in mainstream Hollywood, unless of course, it had an upbeat ending. It's understandable why In the Company of Men divides audiences so sharply. It deals with ugly, narcissistic characters, and confronts the viewer as few films dare do. Here is a work of unquestionable power, a brutally honest, fascinating and sardonic piece that explores the dark side of human behaviour, of male behaviour at its most demonic. While it's easy to question the film's amoral tone (and an uncomfortable denouement featuring Chad), one can't but help be fascinated and mesmerised by the uncompromising nature of this film, and therein lies its power. Aided by a chilling performance by Aaron Eckhart as Chad, who views relationships as a power struggle, In the Company of Men goes boldly where no film has gone before, and does so in an intelligent fashion. While some, and women in particular, may find the film a tough one to sit through, for its psychological treatise of the male animal and brazen honesty, this is a movie that deserves to be found. Major discussions and arguments will no doubt follow."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

AARON ECKHARDT INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban

NEIL LABUTE INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban

"For those who take their tea strong, their vodka straight and their emotions on the chin, In the Company of Men is a jolting, sometimes jocular exposition of human corruption, a walk on the uglier side of ambition and mental cruelty, intelligently done."Andrew L. Urban





IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (M)
(US)

CAST: Aaron Eckhart, Stacy Edwards, Matt Malloy, Mark Rector, Jason Dixie, Emily Cline

DIRECTOR: Neil LaBute

PRODUCER: Mark Archer, Stephen Pevner

SCRIPT: Neil LaBute

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Hettinger

EDITOR: Joel Plotch

MUSIC: Ken Williams, Karel Roessingn

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Julia Henkel

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 26, 1998







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