Saturday, June 25, 2011
The Company Men - DVD Review
Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Rosemary Dewitt, Craig T. Nelson and Eamonn Walker.
Directed by John Wells.
Most people have been laid off or fired in their life, and it can be painful, one of the most stressful things that can happen to a person. It's interesting that this movie decided to focus on wealthier, white-collar workers, but that's the story they're telling and they're sticking to it. So more power to them.
Ben Affleck plays a regional sales manager who's cocky about his golf score, secure in his job because of his friendship with his boss (Tommy Lee Jones), the #2 man at GTX, a transportation manufacturing company. While #2 is away on business, the #1 CEO decides to do a round of layoffs to spike his stock options, and Affleck is among those let go. Then he gets a rude awakening as to just how bad the economy is.
The scene that stuck out for me was one where Jones is meeting a handful of others who are getting ready to do more layoffs. They make sure they're covering legally, but Jones asks "What about ethically?" and the room looks at him like he's speaking a foreign language.
How much is enough? Well, the CEO may have enough money to swim in a la Scrooge McDuck, and he doesn't give a second thought to the thousands of workers whose lives he's destroying to get it. But this is really more about coping, about the turmoil of this new economy.
Chris Cooper is another worker, high up in the company, but he's getting near 60 and has many expenses. When he gets axed, he sees just how rough the business world is. Why hire a middle-aged family man when you can hire a single 25-year-old who'll work 80 hours a week for half the pay?
The acting in the end is what won me over. And since a co-worker of mine got laid off just last week, I'm kinda raw and a bit cynical about corporate America right now. For many, though, the ending won't be as neatly wrapped as it is here.