The Company Men is an engrossing drama that gets into the more personal elements of the 2008 financial collapse. The performances while nothing outstanding or award-worthy, are more than adequate especially from Ben Affleck whom I feel is still underappreciated. As far as the Blu-ray goes, the video and audio transfers are good but the features leave much to be desired.
Anchor Bay | R – 105 min. – $39.99 | June 7, 2011
Directed by: John Wells
Writer(s): John Wells (written by)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello
Theatrical Release Date: January 21, 2011
Features: Commentary, Featurette, Deleted Scenes
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 21.9 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Plot: Bobby Walker (BEN AFFLECK) is living the American Dream, until he is stunned to find himself the latest casualty of corporate downsizing. Suddenly, Bobby is forced to re-evaluate his self-worth as a husband, father and a man. For as long as he can remember, he’s given his life to his job. Now, with only the love of his wife (ROSEMARIE DEWITT) and family, it’s time to take his life back…
Along with Bobby, the film also follows the life changes within Gene McClary (TOMMY LEE JONES); the company’s second-in-command, executive Phil Woodward (CHRIS COOPER); a corporate lackey in Sally Wilcox (MARIA BELLO) and the company’s heartless CEO, James Salinger (CRAIG T. NELSON).
Given the recession and near corporate meltdown that occurred in 2008 has spawned many movies with big time star ensembles (Margin Call, Too Big to Fail) and while they mostly have been good on a technical level, it never quite struck an emotional chord with me. For instance, Margin Call featured some great performances and sharp dialogue but the story never quite connected. Now with The Company Men, because it takes the viewers through the personal lives of the people affected by the financial collapse (vs. the company itself), you get more invested.
The ensemble cast mostly gives respectable performances, albeit I’ve seen better from them like Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy, Chris Cooper in American Beauty, Maria Bello in just about anything else since her role is so minimal by comparison, Tommy Lee Jones in No Country for Old Men and certainly Kevin Costner with his bad (or is it good) Bostonian accent.
Written and Directed by John Wells marking his feature directorial debut after helming episodes of his hit series “ER”, The Company Men is a good drama thanks to the performances by the ensemble cast. No, it’s not some groundbreaking work or something that probably will only be remembered as one of many films centered on the financial collapse of 2008, but I think it’s worth checking out.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5
Audio Commentary – Writer/Producer/Director John Wells sits down for an informative track as he delves into the story, how it came about, working with certain actors, shooting in different locations, etc. I wouldn’t call this a lively track but Wells manages to keep things rolling until the end.
Making Company Men (14:23; SD) is your basic making-of featurette where you get members from the cast and crew chatting up on what the movie is about and giving insights into their characters.
Deleted Scenes (7:12; SD) – Here we get six scenes – including alternate opening credits, excised from the film no doubt for time restraints.
Alternate Ending (12:52; SD) is pretty much extended from what was in the movie with some nice moments but on the whole, it’s unnecessary.
Previews – The King’s Speech, Blue Valentine
VIDEO – 4.25/5
The Company Men comes to Blu-ray with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition transfer. This is a pretty impressive looking picture with some good detail level. The color array is also fine while black levels seem to be even and showed no signs of artifacting or pixilation. This is not the kind of movie that will pop off the screen or anything, but still it’s moderately notable.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The disc comes with a nice sounding 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. As you might suspect, this is pretty much a dialogue-driven movie so you’re not going to get much depth compared with the more action heavy movies. There is plenty of ambient noise, to go along with Aaron Ziggman’s score, that make use of the front and rear channels, but most of the audio comes from the center speaker.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, The Company Men is an engrossing drama that gets into the more personal elements of the 2008 financial collapse. The performances while nothing outstanding or award-worthy, are more than adequate especially from Ben Affleck whom I feel is still underappreciated. As far as the Blu-ray goes, the video and audio transfers are good but the features leave much to be desired.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.