A24 studios is making a name for themselves in not only providing great films but also notching a few misses. While many may have liked LAMB there were also a conglomerate of people (myself included) that won't go near that film again. Though when a director like Alex Garland debuts his latest feature MEN to the fray it's hard not to give it a glance. Hard is a word to describe the film as it's not only "hard" to watch it's also "hard" to follow.
Clearly form the start you can tell this is a film about original sin, betrayal and guilt. Harper is the lead played by Jessie Buckley who rents a house after the tragic death of her husband Alex. The caretaker of the house (Rory Kinnear) seems to have a face that belongs to everyone Harper encounters. From a school boy to the local hooligans at the nearby pub. Harper seems oblivious to this fact which draws the viewer into the illusion that there is some blindside based off of what she's been through. The MEN interact with her in various ways which draws metaphors for the behavior she endured with her now deceased husband. Flooded with intrigue the story follows a driven path of which there is no escape. Leading to the ending that will leave the viewer speechless.
The hope is that the artistic display of MEN will shine bright to provide and unsettling glimpse into the relationship dynamic. It did for a smidge , but along the way it seemed to lose itself. Speaking for the common viewer there is never a need for a film to be straight and direct but at times a little more substance can go a far way. Will there be an audience for MEN? Only time will tell. MEN embodies a cult status film with points of discussion that will forever be debated. The real question is does it hold enough entertainment value to keep the audience engaged? From the start the answer would be yes and to say this movie will go over the heads of the masses is an understatement.
We really hoped that something a little more sinister would have sufficed as the ending seemed a little too well thought out and avant grade. Some questions may have been answered during the credits but how many stayed to see them? There is no denying the talent of Alex Garland and the depths of his imagination. Unfortunately in this day in age with dumbed down material and little attention spans MEN could be only many hated list for those who attended last weekend. For others they will look at this as another extravagant classic from Garland. For us we tend to follow the thoughts on the previous. Lots of potential with s sure fire miss at captivating the audience at the end.
MEN is WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY
Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu
Available in theaters everywhere courtesy of A24 Studios.