Men – Strange & Tense
Director: Alex Garland
Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear, Paapa Essiedu, Gayle Rankin, Sarah Twomey, Zak Rothera-Oxley, Sonoya Mizuno
Plot: A young woman goes on a solo vacation to the English countryside following the death of her ex-husband.
Tagline – What haunts you will find you
Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Men starts when Harper (Buckley) looks to escape her life after her husband’s death. Taking two weeks away in the country in a beautiful home owned by Geoffrey (Kinnear). Giving Harper a chance to be refresh, recharge and look back on the events of what happened.
Harper starts to meet some of the locals, she starts to get an uneasy feeling of being followed. Which only comes to light when she believes she has been followed out of woods.
Thoughts on Men
Characters & Performances
Harper is the grieving woman that is trying to have a break from her life after the death of her husband. She picks cottage in the middle of the countryside. Away from people, plenty of open space, beautiful countryside and peace. She does find the locals strange with her trip into the woods, sees her believing a man has followed her back. Any interactions she has around the village being uncomfortable. Reflecting on her relationship with her husband. Harper has plenty of emotions to unfold, with this story giving her a chance to start to address this. Showing the world through a woman’s eyes to other people reaction towards her.
Geoffrey is the man who rents Harper the home, he is socially awkward, but friendly at the same time. Filled with the odd one-liner which will get you chuckling away at his character. Which is used to lower the tension we go through. When it comes to the rest of the characters. We have Riley the best friend on the end of the phone, who only wants to make sure her friend is safe. The men around town are uncomfortable too. The vicar, one schoolboy and locals in the pub, nobody seems like they know how to be around people.
Jessie Buckley is brilliant in this leading role, which will see her reflecting a lot on her life. Showing she isn’t the weak one. Rory Kinnear and most of the male stars have the ability to either be really funny or really scary and uncomfortable.
Men follows a woman needing to take a break from her life after her husband’s death. Only for her to find herself dealing with a village of socially awkward men. Men, will have plenty of metaphors going on. Looking to show how abusive relationships will haunt someone for a long time. Proving to them that they will need to face them head on.
Outside of the metaphors, we seem to be left to try and piece together a lot. Which seems to involve things not explained, with a final act that will leave you even more confused. I feel this story is one that could be broken down for a long time to look at everything going on in the film. Even if not everything looks like it makes as much sense in the first viewing.
Men is a tension filled horror mystery that uses the two components of the open countryside of the unknown. The mental distraught a victim in an abusive relationship would have been through. The countryside locations are beautiful, they feel empty without anything going on around the character. Men uses the echo created by Harper as the distinct musical reference going on in the background of the higher tension scenes too.
Final Thoughts – Men is an uncomfortable movie that uses the tension to make you feel uneasy.