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In the Company of Men movie review

In the Company of Men

If there were ever such a thing as the opposite of a "chick flick," In the Company of Men would be it. Working with a mere budget of US $25,000 yet achieving the filmmakers’ trophy from the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, this is truly an independent and very daring drama fueled by the desire to showcase exactly how destructive people can be.

Chad (Aaron Eckhart) and Howard (Matt Malloy) are two corporate businessmen who have been mucked around with by women a few too many times. One night in a bar room they decide that in order to reek revenge on women in general, they will target a vulnerable lady, take advantage of her and break her heart. "She’ll be reaching for the sleeping pills within a week," Chad says to Howard, "And you and me will laugh about this until we’re very old men."

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Soon after their arrival in an unnamed town, where they spend 6 weeks working out business affairs, Chad meets a charming and beautiful deaf woman named Suzanne (Stacey Edwards). He immediately picks her out as a perfect target, and both guys overwhelm the young lady by dating her and giving much needed attention. Suzanne begins to fall for Chad, and feel sorry for Howard.

What becomes of this platter of charm, emotional power and verbal violence is really quite extraordinary. In the Company of Men shows more than anything else that the power and dexterity of the spoken word is back, and is very much alive in independent films. As Aaron Eckhart said during an interview last year: “It’s not that Hollywood can’t do it, I just don’t think they can trust it.”

Newcomer director Neil LaBute has shown astonishing skill in creating what should be known as the best film to slip past the realms of mainstream cinema since last years Sling Blade. It’s dangerously powerful, impeccably acted, sharply written and so corporately controversial that it may be simply too overwhelming for some audiences.

The integrity, and the skill, that is so shrewdly evident all throughout means that it will not be quickly forgotten…and I know it will lurk in the dark alleys of my mind whenever I see a couple together on the silver screen again.

Enjoy it on its entertaining merits – there are plenty of them - but beware: its riveting, disturbing stuff. And it’s utterly brilliant.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mall From 0 stars (bomb), to 5 stars (a masterpiece): 5 stars

review © Copyright Luke Buckmaster
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Title: In the Company of Men (199)
Written by:
Directed by: Neil LaBute

The Players: Aaron Eckhart; Matt Malloy; Stacey Edwards
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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