MEN (2022) 18 Surreal Drama Film Reviews Alex Garland A24

‘What haunts you will find you.’
Men is a 2022 British surreal drama film about a young woman who goes solo in the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband.

Written and directed by Alex Garland (Annihilation; Ex-Machina; writer of Dred; 28 weeks later; Sunshine).

The A24 production stars Jessie Buckley (The lost girl; I’m thinking of ending things; The mail; The woman in white series; Storm), Rory Kinnear (no time to die; peterloo; Spectrum; The imitation game; celestial fall; Quantum of Comfort) and Paapa Essiedu (London Gangs series; Murder on the Orient Express; King Lear 2014).

Presentation :
“Following a personal tragedy, Harper (Buckley) retreats alone to the beautiful English countryside, hoping to have found a place to heal. But someone or something from the surrounding woods seems to be stalking her. What begins as a quivering terror becomes a fully-formed nightmare, inhabited by its darkest memories and fears in the new shape-shifting horror flick from visionary filmmaker Alex Garland.

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Exam:

Men takes a long time to start. Jessie Buckley’s naturally upset character wanders helplessly through the beautiful English countryside and it’s almost halfway through the film before anything of note happens (except for the brief flashback to the suicide of his former partner or, more likely, on a fatal accident).

Although it’s a clever cinematic trick, having Rory Kinnear play multiple characters Men comes across as more Pythonesque than sinister. Men are obviously the problem/bad guys here, but Alex Garland’s delivery is so unsubtle and clunky, hence the painfully obvious title, it pokes fun at his intentions to vilify misogyny.

Only British filmmaker Peter Strickland can be more pretentious and had Men wasn’t picked up by indie darlings A24, it would have reached a much less flattering audience/criticism. Sold as horror, there’s nothing quite like it to be found though it’s genuinely surreal and the cinematography by former music video director Rob Hardy is commendable. Unfortunately, everything is quite boring and simply turns off at the end.
Adrian J Smith. CINEMA and MANIA

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Other reviews:

“Alex Garland’s third film will be polarizing, but this reviewer adored its narrative complexity, nightmarish imagery and stunning performances from Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear.” 4/5 Center of Dread

“Both Buckley and Kinnear give outstanding performances that deserve all the recognition and praise, with Rory doing an impressive turn playing multiple characters. My only concern is that the film is too abstract for general audiences and not easy to digest. Aside from that, Men is a visual feast of nightmarish imagery that is sure to get people talking. Nightmarish conjurations

” …Men reached a point where my mouth gaped at what I was looking at. I find that movies never want to be as gross as I want them to be, so I was thrilled with this development. At the end, Men works best as a startling slice of cosmic horror and a showcase for Buckley in an almost constant state of emotional strain, especially his on-screen screaming abilities. The reading list

Men is not a simple or simplistic tract, however; Garland leaves a lot to the judgment of the audience and asks us questions that we must answer based on our own experiences. It also doesn’t let the sociopolitical side of the material overwhelm its other goal, much achieved here, of making a scary horror movie. Garland maintains perfect control of the atmosphere and the slowly building tension…” Rue Morgue

“Garland leaves things hanging, opting to keep it vague and open so the audience has something to chew on afterwards, including the religious imagery visibly present throughout. Regardless of its shortcomings, however, Men is engrossing from start to finish, bizarre and surreal. 3/5 Screen Rating

“Although heavily influenced by symbolism and heavy thematic material, the more abstract nature of the third act, coupled with some interesting editing decisions and the abrupt feel of its ending, ultimately undercut whatever success it might have been. Such is the nature of experimentation and risk-taking in storytelling. 6/10 Vital sensations

“Considerable craftsmanship, intelligence and imagination have certainly been invested in Men – from the heavy lifting of Kinnear to the oddly placid cinematography of frequent Garland collaborator Rob Hardy to this heyday of gonzo effects – but it still feels like watching a horror exhibit behind a rope rather than a nightmare of the interior. The envelope

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