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In The Company Of Men (1997)
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Review Date: December 27, 1998
Director: Neil LaBute
Writer: Neil LaBute
Producers: Mark Archer and Stephen Pevner
Actors:
Aaron Eckhart as Chad
Stacy Edwards as Christine
Matt Maloy as Howard
Plot:
Two third-tier businessmen with a history of negative experiences with women, decide to turn their 6-week stay at an out-of-town corporate setting, into an opportunity to play an emotional head game with an unsuspecting woman employee. They both agree to wine her, dine her and romanticize her for the period of their stay, up until the day on which they have to leave, at which time they will both unceremoniously dump her, and laugh about it for years to come.
Critique:
Interesting, original premise starts off with a slow burn, but eventually challenges you into watching the screen without a cringe, as the actors work their thespian chops, and the script gets more involving as it moves along. I did however find the cinematic style of this film to be quite distracting, as a lot of shots were taken from long-view, and felt too symbolic and impractical. I found myself waiting for the camera to zoom in on the characters, rather than attempting to listen in closer to their far-away conversations. That aside, the three main characters had strong showings, with the character of Chad, as played by Aaron Eckhart, rating the highest as the bastard with the heart of ice. Eckhart looks like he chewed into this part like a rabid dog on a bloody bone.

This movie does not have any other side-stories to offer the viewer, and doesn't even recognize any real secondary characters either. The film is based solely on these three characters and the dysfunctional dynamic of their respective relationships. And despite my patience being tested during the film's initial slow build-up, I did find myself engrossed enough by the end of the film, to warrant a thumbs up in regards to character development. Having said that, I did find some of LaBute's writings manipulative and exaggerated just for the effect on its audience, but mostly interesting to watch. The conclusion left me satisfied to a point, but did not wholly resolve all of my reservations. It also felt a bit set up, and unbelievable in respect to Chad's destiny. All in all, the acting and the dialogue were good, the pace very slow, and the premise very original and brave to tackle. Watch it with your buddies or your loved one, and try to figure out if you know anyone as disgusting as Chad in your life. If you do...you're in trouble!!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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