Director: Alex Garland. Starring: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu. Rated R. Color. 100 Minutes.
“Men” is one of those films where it is hard not to scoff and say, “OH PLEASE.” This tale of a woman being bombarded by male characters is absolutely ridiculous in its vulgarity for all the wrong reasons. “Men” is making a statement that is valid but does so by placing on screen the exact example of what its message claims to be against. Paradoxically un-intuitive.
Jessie Buckley plays Harper, a woman looking for a break in life after she witnesses her husband James (Paapa Essiedu) commit suicide, allegedly. In flashbacks the audience sees James fall to his death with Harper watching, in slow motion of course. The husband “killed himself” because Harper was going to divorce the man who was physically abusive. Tough situation for Harper to wake up to. The tragedy leads her to a countryside English retreat where she can write as well as collect her thoughts. At that point “Men” goes off the rails.
Harper drives up to the rural cottage for an extended B&B experience hosted by a quirky gentleman (Rory Kinnear) excited to show the lady around the property. The idea of peacefulness is quickly ruined during a stroll in the woods. While investigating a tunnel under a bridge, Harper begins a journey in which she will be followed by a naked man (also Rory Kinnear). The naked man haunts her even whilst she Skypes with her best friend Riley (Gayle Rankin) about this eerie situation. At this point Harper is haunted by a small town in which every character is played by Rory Kinnear. This is a faulty “Twilight Zone” episode.
In the end, nothing really happens. Director Alex Garland is trying to make a statement about how men suffocate women. At least I think? “Men” is all over the place with no clear direction as a film. Give credit to Kinnear for putting it all out there performance wise by taking on multiple characters of multiple ages. Unfortunately he is putting his efforts towards a project that is pretentious to the ump-degree. And do not get me started on how ridiculous the resurrection/birth among characters’ back sequence as a supposed climax is. “Men” wants to be a smart movie about women’s rights. It could not be further from the truth.
SUCK FACTOR: 6 out of 7 (7 MEANS YOUR MOVIE REALLY SUCKS!)
The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We have flipped the ratings script. If you make a masterpiece, say “The Godfather”, your movie receives 0 SUCKS!. If you make absolute garbage, say a Michael Bay film, you get a 7 out of 7. Meaning your movie totally SUCKS!