DVD Review: ‘The Company Men’ Blu-Ray

The Company Men is a corporate drama by first time writer, producer, and director John Wells that first premiered at Sundance in 2010.  Starring Ben Affleck (The Town, Good Will Hunting), Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black, No Country for Old Men), and Chris Cooper (American Beauty, Adaptation), this film obviously has a strong cast of seasoned actors that together couldn’t make a bad film if they tried.  With it’s high production value, timely script, and strong cast, the question isn’t whether this is bad film, but rather if it is as relatable or socially relevant as the filmmakers want it to be.

Personally, this film is just not my usual genre.  I understand that there definitely could be a sizable market for this film, but what some people might find to be a relevant story about the hardships of today’s economy, I find to be lacking in realism and slightly melodramatic.  It is one of those films where every few lines the audience is suppose to be nodding in agreement thinking, “Yes, I feel your pain.”  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the need for films to comment on the troubles of society, but this just seemed forced and exaggerated.

The film is about the effects of corporate downsizing, how it ultimately effects people the same way regardless of job title or salary, and what is really important to treasure in your life.  Affleck plays Bobby Walker, a white-colar corporate employee who gets laid off in the first round of downsizing at corporate giant GTX.

Tommy Lee Jones plays his immediate boss and best friend of the CEO and Chris Cooper plays a senior employee at the company, both characters who previously had never had to worry about their status in the company until Bobby was fired.  Also starring in the film are Maria Bello (A History of Violence), Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), and Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), who each give just as strong of performances as the leads in this film.

The biggest thing this film lacked was inter-character development that could have helped bring out the best of this extraordinary cast.  Each character was suppose to individually represent a different way a person could react to the effects from being fired, but if they concentrated on connecting the characters a little more, the story would have had the dynamic tension it was missing.  I mean, I really didn’t even understand Chris Cooper’s point in the story for most of the film.

But is this movie worth watching on Blu-Ray?  Unless you are huge fan of Roger Deakins, one of the most talented working cinematographers today responsible for The Shawshank Redemption and No Country for Old Men, I would say not so much.  And honestly, while I have no complaints about his work in this film, solid compositions from start to finish, it is far from his best or coolest work.

And besides that, the special features are laughably bad.  A prominent sticker on the cover of the disk advertises an alternate ending that proved to be even more disappointing than the real ending.  95% of this new 15 minute ending was exactly the same footage, simply ending before the real film did.  It seemed like they cut this “new” ending just because they didn’t have any other features to put on the disk.

On top of that, the “making of documentary” was so mind-numbingly boring that I would have normally turned it off after the first 20 seconds.  Maybe it is because I personally am interested in how they made this film, but I hate these “making of” spots that just have a couple b-roll shots of dolly moves as their “behind-the-scenes” footage, spliced in between the cast and director talking about character motivations and thematic elements.  How does this show people how the film was made?

In the end, The Company Men is a DVD rental about the importance of family and finding out what really make you happy in your life.

Directing: 6/10

Writing: 5/10

Performances: 7/10

Cinematography: 7.5/10

Editing: 7/10

Blu-Ray Features: 3/10

Overall Score: 6/10

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