Men - Alex Garland and A24 with some horror in the countryside

Oh man, for a minute I thought we were going to get to see Jessie Buckley using her natural accent, but no, generic American.

I’m on board with this film, but I expect some surreal nonsense that just barely doesn’t ruin an otherwise great film.

That could be the tagline for almost any A24 movie.

Is this a commentary on “Ex Machina”? I don’t really remember anything like that in there. It was my first Oscar Isaac film though, and he was so obviously “acting” it really bothered me. But now that I’ve seen other Oscar Isaac movies, I can’t figure out why I thought that at the time. His acting in it seems fine now.

More on Annihilation (a little too much surrealism) and Devs (just the right amount).

EDIT: Also, Ex Machina is a relatively straightforward film, but the dance scene with Sonoya Mizuno?

I wish great directors would stop putting great actors in horror movies that I’m too afraid to see.


No clue what the actual movie is about, beyond its general menacing tone. But, I think A24 and Alex Garland have both earned a little faith, I’m sure I will see this.

I’m happy to see that studios occasionally still manage to do teaser trailers that don’t give away 80-90% of the plot.

Beutiful trailer, love it. I think Devs gave Garland a real creative kick.

A24 rules. As does Alex Garland. As does Jesse Buckley.

Can’t wait.

EDIT: And yeah, I loved Devs.

Longer trailer out now.

I love how I don’t know WTF is going on in this trailer.

Also, more Rory Kinnear, please.

I don’t know who Rory Kinnear is - looking him up on IMDb I guess the only thing I would know him from is the recent Bond movies. But he’s also in ‘Our Flag Means Death’, which I’ve been meaning to catch.

Rory Kinnear is one of those actors who I will see anything they’re in. Him and Bill Camp. Kinnear is just so utterly lacking any vanity as an actor that he’s uniquely able to conjure up empathy for characters who would be hated or ignored if played by anyone else.

Among many other roles, he played the mayor of London in the very first episode of Black Mirror, which is probably his most infamous role. My favorite role of his is as Frankenstein’s monster in Penny Dreadful. He was also excellent in the (also excellent) British near-future limited series Years and Years.

This Baby Boom sequel looks wack yo.

Reviews are starting to show up. Just a warning, if you’re wanting to go in blind these reviews do go into some detail about the plot, though I don’t know how much of it I would call spoilers. From the sound of things the story gets quite ambiguous and/or symbolic so it might be difficult to spoil anyway.

Anyone else see this? I thought it was a real mess, but often quite nice to look at.

I saw this! I’m not a horror guy but I am an Alex Garland guy, so here are some thoughts:

I kinda appreciate how simple the story is, like maybe men abusing women doesn’t need nuance

I really like that tunnel scene early in the movie. The Edenic forest. The healing rain. Then a tunnel. Our heroine loves it, but I’m feeling more and more dread as we’re forced to linger there. Then a silhouette wordlessly running towards her. The innocence of the forest is destroyed, and it ain’t coming back

I like the husband as Bizarro Christ figure: one who crucifies himself, imbues guilt rather than taking on guilt, and whose resurrection is oh so gross and oh so pathetic. He returns not in glory but in powerlessness

I like our heroine’s three stages of recovery: freaked the hell out, fighting back, and lastly, having no fucks left to give. The way she just stares as her husband sheds his skins helped me reckon with what I was seeing, and her final “heh” was perfect

I don’t remember, but did she end up using the axe? Is it implied that it’s used offscreen to finish the job?

I especially appreciate how her friend arrives and confirms for us that the carnage is real. This wasn’t in our heroine’s head all along. Abusive husbands may die but the damage they inflict after death is very real

And the friend was pregnant this whole time! Heck yeah!

Oh, and the cell phone glitches were corny but still creeped me out. Maybe it makes sense that a loser husband would resort to such cliché haunting tactics :P

Then you should watch Ridley Road on Masterpiece. He plays the real-life leader of the National Socialist Movement in early 1960s Britain.

I really enjoyed Ex Machina, liked Annihilation less but still appreciated it, and felt like Devs was a great story undermined by an awful lead.

So I had a lot of goodwill toward Garland going into Men, but this might be where I stop automatically watching anything Garland does.

There are spoilers below, I only tagged very specific examples but the whole rest of the post has broad spoilers.

The first act was beautiful and all the stuff I like from Garland—the tunnel scene will probably be one of my favorite scenes of the year. Shot beautifully, and hitting the right unsettling tone, but the sound design really sets it apart. I love how the lines blur between the score and the diagetic sounds.

But from there, as the horror elements kick in, the movie just becomes a fuzzy mix of mood and metaphor that never resolves into anything satisfying. There’s a version of a film like this where that works, that the point is to portray the messy, unresolved, and unending aftermath of what Harper experienced specifically with her husband, and also more broadly representing the abuse in general men can inflict on women.

Within its atmosphere of dread and menace, Men still had such specificity in its imagery that went unexplained that it crossed the line from building some kind of empathetic frustration with Harper’s feelings of helplessness and crushing oppression into disappointment with the resulting film.

And then the end was just so gruesome and disturbing, what I’ll call the ”Rory Nesting Doll” sequence was too much for me in a movie I wasn’t really connecting with any more. One man-birth would’ve been perfectly effective for me, thanks.

And then the epilogue? I think I would’ve liked it a little more if it ended on that very unresolved note of Harper sitting there on the couch with her husband. Instead, her friend shows up, and hammers home that whatever happened wasn’t totally in Harper’s head. Not that I thought it was, I never suspected she was imagining it all, but the epilogue pulls you out of the uneasy surreal tone and ends the film with a final reminder that something real happened and the movie isn’t even a little bit interested in dealing with that.

And a specific production nitpick that’s shown in the trailer, mapping Rory’s face onto a kid stuck out like a sore thumb as a bad special effect.