Men

Eldritch evil everywhere
by
ABR Arts 17 June 2022

Men

Eldritch evil everywhere
by
ABR Arts 17 June 2022
Jessie Buckley as Harper in <em>Men</em> (image courtesy of Roadshow Films)
Jessie Buckley as Harper in Men (image courtesy of Roadshow Films)

The films of Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Ex Machina, Annihilation) all share a distinct feeling of descentan almost gravitational pull towards madness, towards decay, towards a loss of self. His new film, the ingeniously titled but only half-realised Men, continues this tradition.

It stars Jessie Buckley (devastatingly good in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter, and equally committed here) as Harper, a woman from London who travels to the English countryside, hoping to heal following her husband’s (Paapa Essiedu) suicide. She checks into her picturesque rental estate and is greeted by the buck-toothed, wellington-clad Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear). At the local church, she meets a dark-eyed, silver-haired cleric (Rory Kinnear). Down at the pub, she catches suspicious looks from the bartender (Rory Kinnear) and the locals (played by Rory Kinnear). When she explores the woods beyond the village, she is followed home by a naked man (Rory Kinnear), who is soon apprehended by a police officer (Rory Kinnear). The first half of the film is a series of clever and chilling set-ups, paving the way for a deeply Garlandesque third act that I would not wish to spoil even if I could fully grasp it.

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