The Company Men (2010) Directed by John Wells. With Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello and Rosemarie DeWitt.
Writer and director John Wells’ ‘The Company Men’ treads a very fine line between that of a very well produced, made for TV drama and a largely forgettable, but well acted independent cinema release. A brief glance at Wells’ resume showcases a prominent creative role on celebrated and long lived television series such as The West Wing and E.R which might go some way to explaining why the film has the small screen feel.
Recent years have seen a flood of documentaries and films with an angle on the global recession towards the end of the naughties. We’ve had Margin Call, Inside Job, hell – even Gordon Gecko popped back up to remind us how good greed was.
What’s certain about this film is the performances. With a very strong cast headed up by Ben Affleck and Tommy Lee Jones, you have the basis for greatness to thrive. Unfortunately though, this film is destined to emerge as nothing more than a footnote rather than something definitive that frames the time and surrounding events. That said, performances are very good all round with seasoned actors like Craig T. Nelson, Chris Cooper and Maria Bello all adding weight to proceedings.
More a study of the effect of success and the void it creates when it goes away, The Company Men has something to say about the potential wastefulness exhibited by overly wealthy men, and their wives. As the company in question downsizes, the sacked employees themselves have re-evaluate to what is essential to their lives.
So, while there’s much to admire in terms of performance, the narrative itself coasts along in a functional and orderly way without ever managing to be create a solid impact. Good, but not great. 3/5