Men is the new movie from A24, written and directed by Alex Garland.
Garland is known for Ex Machina, Annihilation and the TV series Devs. I haven’t seen Ex Machina for a while, but remember liking it. Annihilation I have seen twice, and seen some explanation videos about, and I like that. Devs I didn’t finish.
Garland’s movies are very much like Marmite, which is an English spread you would have in a sandwich and that some people love and some people hate. Personally, I think Marmite is scraped from the Devil’s arse and hate the stuff.
You either like Garland’s work, very slow and methodical with deep themes where you can draw your own conclusion, or you think he’s an over thinker and want to see helicopters blow up for entertainment.
I was looking forward to seeing Men. The trailer made it look good. I love Rory Kinnear as an actor and I like some of Garland’s previous work.
Men stars Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear for the most part. It is, in fact, very clever as pretty much all of the men in the movie are played by Kinnear in a range of makeup and costumes.
The story is:
“A young woman goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside following the death of her ex-husband.”
In movies no one every goes the countryside and just has a nice time. When Harper (Bukley) gets to this lone house, Geoffrey (Kinnear) shows her around and welcomes her to the little village. While off exploring, she gets chased by a naked man.
She gets lost, but ends up back at the house. The man is still after her and she calls the police. This is as far into the main plot as I will go.
I will need to talk about some spoilers from here on in.
As the story unfolds, we find that Harper and her husband were having difficulties in their marriage and she wanted a divorce. He threatens to kill himself, which would be on her conscience. He finally snaps, hits her and she makes him leave their flat.
Through what might have been an accident, he falls to his death in a pretty gruesome way and she is now left with the guilt that it might have been her fault. This is all played out in flashbacks.
Harper is obviously having to deal with a lot and, to me, the movie is about her having to deal with that grief and how it unfolds in her own mind.
All of the rest of the men in the movie are then played, in one form or another, by Kinnear and maybe she sees all men as the same, all trying to control her in one way or another. This is how I saw it, but you might see something completely different.
I read that the Men was very woke and all about men taking power from women. I didn’t see any of this in the movie. The end of the movie is messed up, and I mean really messed up. I like extreme cinema, but even I thought to myself at one point:
“What the hell am I watching? “
*Huge Spoilers Now*
At the end of the movie Harper is being harassed by all of the men in the village, all of them Kinnear. One by one, one of Kinnear’s characters gives birth to the next. Geoffrey becomes pregnant and gives birth to one of the other character, through his anus, then that one becomes pregnant and gives birth, thought his arse hole, to the next and so on.
The final incarnation is Harper’s husband. I can’t say I fully understood it, but it did hit pretty hard and I need to see it again to fully appreciate it.
*End Of Spoilers*
Overall the first two acts of the movie are brilliant. When the first naked man turns up, it was very much like the original Halloween, where he’s walking around in the background, without another played for jump scares, but makes it creepy.
Buckley is great in this, but Kinnear is amazing! I love him as an actor anyway, but this is easily the best performance I have ever seen him in. The make up for each of the character is really outstanding, as he plays about 8 men I think.
There was one moment, where there is a deepfake on a teenager and the CG on it is bad, you can immediately see that they have dropped in Kinnear’s head one a teenage boy. This was a shame, because it really took me out of the movie for a moment.
The direction is amazing, it’s really creepy and very well done. The downside is the third act, since there is a lot of meaning in there, but I’m not sure I fully understood it. I will revisit it at some point though.
As for the woke in Men. I did look up some of the reviews and, to be honest, I just think they were people who would find woke in The Caravan of Courage. I didn’t see the movie as about male oppression, I saw it about a women dealing with grief. Maybe I am wrong?
I love A24 as a production company and I don’t think they are interested in promoting woke or any of the agendas Hollywood has, they just want to make interesting movies and this is what Men is, an interesting movie.
Men isn’t going to be everyone’s cuppa. It’s very Kubrick in its style, very slow and paced, with an ending that will leave you uncomfortable and wondering what the hell you just watched.
I did like it, but I didn’t love it. I will try it again before the year is out and I might like it on the second viewing.