In the Company of Men

Dan Kohn (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 09:25:03 -0700

This week, I stopped seeing a woman I was very into. So, to
commiserate, I went to see "In the Company of Men" last night.

Feeling bitter and spiteful? Want to? See this movie.

This is a *dark* movie. One female studio executive said this film
should never have been made, because it has no redeeming qualities

But for me, it acted as a cathartic release of a lot of angry feelings I
had built up. Last week, FoRK talked about how stimulants like Ritalin
can calm down hyper-active kids when taken in small does. Similarly,
all of the spite in this movie seemed to wash those feelings out of my

I actually walked out of the movie with a smile. That, I suspect, means
I am a very bad person.

- dan

Daniel Kohn <>
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P.S. Janet Maslin at the NYT summarizes the plot brilliantly <>:

The sweet nothings with which a man woos a woman are, in Neil LaBute's tremendously gutsy first feature, exactly that: nothing. The lacerating Mr. LaBute envisions a courtship ritual that is pure cruelty, at least on the part of an aggrieved white-collar worker named Chad (Aaron Eckhart). The implicit power politics of his sterile corporate world have made Chad shockingly bitter in ways that this unflinching, sharply written film articulates with brilliant ferocity. Now he wants a victim who can feel his pain.

Chad's brainstorm, which turns "In the Company of Men" into a fascinating, divisive conversation piece, is this: Why not pick out a particularly susceptible woman, then flatter her, hoodwink her and make her suffer? In a chilling monologue that locates the film squarely in Mametland, Chad lays out this plan for a milder-mannered colleague named Howard (Matt Malloy), who like Chad feels that women have hurt him and deserve some payback. Howard is both alarmed and secretly excited by his friend's mega-macho thinking.

The dialogue here is stunningly blunt. Chad outlines his plan, concluding: "And then one day, out goes the rug and us pulling it hard. And Jill, she just comes tumbling after." He smiles to himself when considering the consequences: "Trust me, she'll be reaching for the sleeping pills in a week. And we'll be laughing about this till we are very old men." And he hints at the deep frustration that fuels his anger. When life brings new disappointments, he tells Howard, at least each of the two men will be able to say, "They never got me like we got her." ... Mr. LaBute directs this low-budget film with such spareness and precision, using such minimal yet effective backdrops, that in retrospect his color film almost seems to have been in black and white. Its ideas are that stark. "In the Company of Men" was the official winner of the Film Maker's Trophy for best dramatic feature at this year's Sundance Film Festival


Other reviews I liked: