In the Company of Men (1997)
Critic Consensus: Neil LaBute's pitch-black comedy is a masterful exploration of male insecurity, and it's elevated by a breakout performance by Aaron Eckhart as a businessman who likes to play psychological games.
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Critic Reviews for In the Company of Men
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A dazzling, repellent exercise in which the case against men is closed before it's opened.
LaBute, a playwright and former drama teacher, has succeeded in creating a study of banal, everyday evil.
A dark, probing, truly disturbing exploration of yuppie angst and male anxieties as they manifest themselves in both the work and personal arenas.
Audience Reviews for In the Company of Men
It wrings some good tension out of its bonkers plot, but by the end "In the Company of Men" feels like it's all concept, middling craftsmanship, and no valuable message.
I thought I would like this LaBute film since I usually dig his hold-a-mirror-up-to-society commentaries, but the evil machinations in this movie really have no exigence other than, as Chad states at the very end, "Because I could." This isn't some evil sociopathic genius who reveals societal hypocrises (like Evelyn does in The Shape of Things); hypocrises are nevertheless revealed but not through any action or intention on Chad's part. In the Company of Men is just two college dudes, thinking of how cool it'd be to write a totally depraved script and wait until one dude is sufficiently rich and famous enough as a playwright to produce this piece so that the other dude can star in it. The puns on "company" and the hierarchy of power are intriguing, but the company itself is such an underdeveloped entity. What is it? What do they do? Why are they here? It seems like LaBute didn't even know. It's too easy to say the anonymous nature of the company could represent any company. The LaBute I know is much too specific of a writer to cut corners like that, unless of course, he was too inexperienced to think it needed development.
Neil LaBute's "In the Company of Men" is vicious look at misogyny. Aaron Eckhart totally nails his role here and it's a marvel to watch. The picture is cruel (though no where near as damaging as "Your Friends & Neighbors") and scathing. LaBute's dialogue is also a treasure to behold. Something special always seems to happen when playwrights transition to film and "In the Company of Men" is one of those gems. It's a nasty piece of work, but well worth your time for it's biting deconstruction of masculinity, sexual politics and angst. If you are looking for an extremely violent film without any violence it in, you need to see "In the Company of Men."
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