Men (2022) Directed by Alex Garland
As inconclusive as its truisms are, the turgid allegorical integrity is lost in its own contrasts of oversimplification, descending, and stagnating, in a futile exegesis of a specific susceptible theme disguised as specious phantasmagoric surrealism and invariable incognitos. Men as a horror production has sufficient arguments to convince us of its flashy but dexterous compositional semiotics in a social commentary or message rather flimsy for the limited ambition of this production.
This film written and directed by Alex Garland articulates its convictions with a very obvious precision, perhaps too transparent, obtaining the opposite effect to the desired one; the sober visual narration enters into a conscious state of secrecy but the narrative paradox here is that its unconscious gives away absolutely all intentions from its convulsive temporal interactivity. The postulate of this eerie sluggish horror film is nothing we don’t already know outside of filmic dimensionality, yet there is something arcane and beautiful in its severe externalization of trauma and irremediable grief that manages to formulate something mildly “consistent”.
Majestic in visuals and enormously unsettling in atmosphere, Men‘s looming schizophrenia is sustained by the exemplary performance of Jessie Buckley, as a tormented woman still trying to cope with the profound sorrow left behind by her husband’s suicide. To channel the gloom and psychological torture of occasional memories of that tragedy, she decides to go alone to a large, isolated and tranquil house in the country, however, what she ends up experiencing in this house is far from meditative and cathartic for her, it turns out to be an environment seemingly inhabited only by men, all equally eccentric and invasive.
The flat execution of the substantial themes doesn’t quite reach the enormity of their aims, issues that are explored with a gruesome audiovisual assault that interacts with the acoustics of its diegetic sounds and the lustrous cinematography but never in tandem with the thematic gravitas. There is much to enjoy but very little to specify, and practically nothing to develop in a commentary, legitimate, but weak filmically speaking.