Men (15, 100 Minutes)
We’re hearing that a lot at the moment, right? Well, it’s for good reason. Look at the absolute state of us. Pushing our chests out, spitting in the street, putting our hands where they’re not wanted. It was only in recent years we finally came to the realisation that it’s OK to cry. As if it was somehow forbidden.
What the hell is wrong with men? Some of you may scoff, say “nothin” and clench your fists as if you’re declaring your dominance like a Gorilla in its enclosure. Well, that’s what is wrong with Men.
Now I haven’t completely cracked the code of Alex Garland’s disturbing new horror, but what I have found is that it’s a mirror of toxic masculinity in its many manifestations.
Harper (Jessie Buckley) is a widower. Needing time away and a fresh new start, she decides to rent a reclusive house out in the middle of nowhere, hoping for a bit of isolation. But tormented by the memory of her one hell of a red flag ex-husband, she finds herself the object of desire for one too many familiar faces determined to kick their boots into her holiday.
Rory Kinnear plays, you guessed it, the MEN. And many men at that, though only one of which is merry. What a performance – or set of performaces – he gives as he slips into at least seven different roles to exhibit the supreme repulsiveness we’ve all witnessed some time or other. It could have been on a night out, maybe at home, maybe hidden deep within ourselves. But we’ve seen it.
Have we identified and called out this behaviour as perhaps we should? Maybe this is the question director Garland is posing.
Don’t mistake this for a film that prides itself on bloke bashing. It’s the sort of surreal piece that should serve as a reminder. We see through the eyes of Harper, the sole woman in a place where the male gaze stalks her every more.
Toxic masculinity is the enemy here, not the male gender.
It misses a few tricks, but Men is nail-bitingly chilling and a feast for the eyes. The visuals are gorgeous. The sound design is superb.
If you’re not fond of blood, gore or certain parts of the human anatomy however, I’d take a rain check.