Review: Men


Harper (Jessie Buckley) heads on a solo trip to the English country side after her husband's (Paapa Essiedu) death. The caretaker of the property she's staying at, Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear) seems a bit off, but it doesn't bother Harper at first. Now she's suddenly seeing many different men, all with the same face and her vacation doesn't go how she planned.

I'm a huge fan of director Alex Garland's work, and when I saw the trailer I was immediately sold. Well, even the mighty must fall at some point, because this was Garland going full Von Trier and I am never heard for that. This feeling is familiar. I felt the same way when I watched Duncan Jones' Mute, a movie I have not thought about since watching it until I sat with my disappointment after watching this. Being so excited for something from a filmmaker you love, only to watch it bomb is the worst.

Garland doesn't trust his audience to understand his symbolism. He has to flat out explain it at first, then it keeps reusing certain frames throughout the story. It's redundant and overlong. Many scenes go on for several beats too long here. Yes, the cinematography is gorgeous and you can't help but linger, but it goes overboard.

It's a shame because this has one of the most memorable endings I've ever seen. He goes full body horror and I will never get those images out of my head. The tension and creepiness is what this film does best. But when it was finished, the first thing that came to mind was "that's it?"

Buckley is of course wonderful and I'll stop referring to Kinnear as "the dude that fucked a pig on Black Mirror" after this because he really gives it his all. I wish this script had more fine tuning, because I think it could've been wonderful.

Grade: D+

Comments

  1. oh wow... i mean, i liked more about it than i didn't. i liked it's audacity, though not everything came together for me. of course i loved the body horror too. i think i liked more of what it was trying to say more than what it actually did say

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    1. That's a good way to think of it, but I had such high expectations that I'm to bitter to consider it that way. Though I agree, the audacity is a higher point.

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  2. Aw, I wanted to see this. I'll guess I'll have to wait for it on streaming. I'd cut Duncan Jones a bit of slack on Mute considering that he was still going through his dad's death. I'm still not over it and watching the trailer for Moonage Daydream made miss Bowie even more. *cries*

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    1. I suppose but that was another one I was so excited for then absolutely hated.

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  3. I'm 'holding' my review as I impatiently wait for the newspaper to let me know if they're running it. But I'll say I'm mostly with you. I really loved the setup to this. But the payoff didn't work and felt more indulgent than meaningful. As you mention, it's so blunt and doesn't let us do much thinking.

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    1. I was surprised you hadn't reviewed this yet! I'm super bummed about this. That's why I was so harsh with my rating.

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  4. I've read a couple of things about this movie and though I like Jessie Buckley + Rory Kinnear, I'm just not interested in this. Sounds like my gut is right about it. I did love Ex Machina, which is still my fave Alex Garland movie.

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  5. I just realized I forgot to change the comment setting, so the previous comment was from me ;-)

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! I'm really annoyed with Blogger's settings lately. I have to use a different browser if I want my name to show when leaving comments now. It's dumb.

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