It is, for better or worse, a film of visceral energy and cinematic style; it makes a powerfully scuzzy impression and reminds you, as of if we didn’t already realise, just how wretched heroin addiction is. The problem is that there’s scarcely a single sympathetic character. They’re all mangy repellent losers and Renton, one of the few with half a brain, spouts nihilistic rants that are deeply foolish - ‘choosing life’ is not the same thing as choosing ‘pleasant valley sunday’.
In the Company of Men has something to say about the vulgar manner in which some men objectify women but Chad (Aaron Eckhart) is so acutely - sociopathically - nasty that Neil LaBute’s caustic debut can’t quite be considered to be a critique of wider masculinity.
Sociopaths like Chad, and the feeble little men like Howard that often follow them, most certainly exist, though, and Aaron Eckhart and Matt Malloy delivers their respective performances with superlative naturalism. In the Company of Men should be ranked amongst the best, most potent indies of the 1990s.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The first thing that must be said about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is that it is a step in the right direction for Martin McDonagh. Everyone loved In Bruges, it was a perfect blend of the dark and the humorous, and it had a lot of heart, too. However, that pathos was lost in his sophomore feature Seven Psychopaths, which favoured cineliterate metafiction and frivolous pop-culture gags.
A cursory read of the synopsis will tell you that Three Billboards…
It's been too long since Paddy Considine's debut feature Tyrannosaur, which, inspired by the tradition of stark British realism, managed to become one of the very best examples of it.
Journeyman is a robust sophomore effort, further proving Considine's talent for deeply affecting drama. The premise of this film could so easily become trite if it got into schmaltzy hands, but Considine is just too good at hitting the viewer's nerve with his tactfully balanced story and dialogue. His performance is also superb... (TBC)