The first trailer for The Weinstein Company's recession-era drama The Company Men is now out. The story of three corporate executives who are downsized, the film was written and directed by John Wells, executive producer of ER, The West Wing and Third Watch, and stars Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Craig T. Nelson.
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.
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