Saturday, 9 January 2010

'Never trust anything that can bleed for a week and not die.'

In the Company a Men

A cult indie directed by Neil LaBute

A monomaniac story of two work colleague as they hatch a plan to take revenge on the female race: they will wine and dine the same woman, the romance will blossom and then dump her within a blink an eye. Why? Because they can....

Two men standing around and pontificating about how much they hate women yields some truly memorable dialogue. Aaron Eckhart, plays a chauvinistic, sadistic marketing executive, fanatical in his distaste of women. Eckhart is one smooth operator when it comes to fucking over women, and though you may despise this man, you admire his vernacular. Chad's physical presence juxtaposes nicely with his colleague, Howard played by Matt Malloy, who has the stature of Gary Coleman, and brings new meaning to the word 'seedy'.

It just so happens that the female target, Christine, played by Stacy Edwards, is deaf. LaBute brilliantly tests the conscious in even watching the film, when we know she is simply a lamb to the slaughter. Even with her impending suffering, the performances of Eckhart and Malloy make it hard not to be fascinated and drawn into this world of two men orchestrating evil.

The film seemed to consist of wide shot after wide shot – a lot of the frames felt cheap – wide and yet limited in exploring each location – perhaps bullshit - but it gave a lot of frames a space to let the actors perform, it somehow felt intimate – observing these characters in their element, listening to every word that was uttered from their lips. A nice touch that a lot of the scenes were either in the toilet, a bar or some place where the two men were eating. LaBute clearly has an understanding of the primal instincts of man: shitting, drinking and eating.

Chad and Howard's line of work is never revealed – yes they work in an office – but it could be any office. Along with their garish ties, LaBute puts these highly individualistic characters in a generic space which works brilliantly to illustrate it could be any office environment in a capitalist world where these men prey. Men doing the obscene to women is a universal fable.

The film was reportedly made for $25,000 -this is hard to believe for a feature made on 35mm. LaBute must have called in a lot of favours or sucked a lot of dick...Either way this is not a criticism but a nod to the director's ingenuity and perseverance in getting this impressive low budget indie made – it is truly a feat to marvel at.

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