The Company Men: Will Anyone Sympathize WIth Laid-Off Executives?
The Company Men isn't Hollywood's first take on the Great Recession: Up in the Air covered similar turf in 2009 with its examination of a corporate hit man hired to fly in and fire downsized workers. But the new film's square-jawed men in suits are a few steps up the food chain from Up in the Air's middle managers. Affleck's character, Bobby Walker, is a 37-year-old executive who drives a Porsche and spends his mornings playing golf at the country club. Unceremoniously dumped from the dizzying heights of the boardroom, he ends up doing construction work with his brother-in-law while he searches for another white-collar job.
Wells's decision to focus on the top of the corporate ladder is bold. For the last few years, America's executive class has been a handy scapegoat for our economic woes. Instead of buying into the established class-warfare narrative, The Company Men seems to be suggesting that the slow slide of American business has undermined American society at all levels -- even the top. But with unemployment still at dizzyingly high numbers, it remains to be seen whether Wells can convince America to shed a tear for the man in the gray flannel suit.