The Company Men – Gloom and Hope

The Company Men is a Hollywood  film about men living the great American dream in a recessionary world. It is a recession drama about corporate downsizing which affects lives of people who not only lose their jobs but their homes, marriages and the respect of their children and a self dignity.

The films has Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones,  Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner in a saga about corporate downsizing directed by John Wells. The movie begins by showing lifestyles of high salaried individuals living their ‘american dream’ life with large villas and suburban homes and flashy cars and expensive suits. The downsizing hits them like a big shock and their lives change almost overnight and slowly and slowly it deteriorates and affects their personal life, family, kids and everybody around them. The movie shows how each man copes with the embarrassment of not being able to support their families. The shame of sitting jobless for weeks and months and inability to come to terms with their future.

Ben Affleck’s life goes topsy-turvy when he is loses job and realizes he cannot afford his lavish lifestyle, plush house, golf membership, porsche and cannot support childeren as well. He searchs frantically for job everywhere and with everyone but is unable to find anything suitable. His brother in law Kevin Costner offers him a blue collar job of a carpenter along with him at a measly pay which he initially refuses but is later forced to join just to keep his life running.  Tommy Lee Jones who had been reduced from no. 2 man in the company to a jobless man by downsizing is less affected as he already has his millions by then but Chris Cooper’s character cannot fathom the failure and inability to support his college going kids and alcoholic wife and commits suicide. How these people deal with joblessness is the core of the “The Company Men.” The movie for most times shows doom and gloom but also ends up showing the rays of hope in the end.

The movie is very well shot and directed and acting by the leads is top-notch. The movie has a slowish pace and you can almost compare this movie with last years ‘ Up in the Air’ which had a similar theme of downsizing in corporate world during recessionary times and had a similar pace. Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones stand out. Kevin Costner has a smallish role and I wonder why he did the not so significant part.?

Overall the movie is worth a watch and its 100 minute length doesn’t make it a long watch either.

My Ratings :  8/10 –  Its not a perfect film but still a great watch to understand the struggles of men who have been fired.

Up in the Air – for the vagabond in you…

Finally managed to catch the movie ‘Up in the Air’ this weekend. A ‘delightful movie’ to summarize in one sentence.

Here’s a snapshot of the movie. The movie stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham who travels across America, from one company to another, firing people. Thats his job, to downsize people. He is a loner, a vagabond, a person who calls airports as his home, travels with almost zero luggage – both in reality and metaphorically. He meets another  ‘corporate traveler’ Vera Farmiga as Alex, who is just like him. They instantly bond together and start meeting as and when their busy schedules permit.

His life changes when Anna Kendrick’s character Natalie comes up with a solution which makes his job redundant, where he could fire employees across USA, right there sitting in his office, using the Internet.

He takes Natalie on a training trip with him, criss-crossing USA. This is when he realizes the impotence of having family, having a home, friends and relatives and decides to have a ‘relationship’ with Alex, who it turns out has a big secret of her own. The end is quite different from what you expect.

No one else but George Clooney could have done the role. It seems that the role is written solely for him. Vera Farmiga as Alex and Anna Kendrick as Natalie are perfectly cast too. Chemistry between the lead stars has to be seen to be believed. George Clooney as super cool, suave Ryan Bingham has to be one of the best casting in a film ever.

The movie is brilliantly shot and directed by Jason Reitman. The movie has a polished, mature look to it. From the busy airport checkins to the plush hotel rooms, to various companies to the corporate boardroom, the movie gives a very posh look. The movie is light romantic as well as satirical comic. The director has included interviews of people who have lost jobs in real in recent downsizing across USA. The movie gives you a very true picture of corporate America.

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone who hasnt seen it. I just regret why I didnt watch this movie earlier on big screen.

My Ratings: 9/10 –  Go fly with it..