Alex Garland’s New Film Repeats His Best and Most Controversial Turn
The first reactions to Alex Garland’s spooky new movie, Men, have arrived. Did the director repeat his best (but most controversial) Annihilation trick?
by Alex Garland Men seeks to repeat the famous director’s best film trick – but risks dividing audiences. 28 days later is a pretty impressive way to advertise himself as a film writer, but Alex Garland soon found himself eager to get behind the camera and made his directorial debut with Ex-Machina in 2014. Since then, Garland has written and directed Hulu’s Developers and the Natalie Portman-fronted Annihilationbecame famous for its subversive storytelling style and tonal uniqueness.
Garland’s next attempt to play with our minds is Men – a British horror in which Harper (Jesse Buckley) goes on a quiet vacation to a town full of Rory Kinnears. the james bond and black mirror The actor portrays an entire village of creepy rural men, and the more these encounters with Harper, the more she is confronted with the recent and tragic death of her beloved husband. The trailer doesn’t give much away (other than that men can be absolutely terrifying), but early reactions have turned out to be mostly full of praise. MenThe early reviews, however, all repeat much the same line – that Garland once again happily delves into the surreal and the obscure, leaving her audience perplexed, frightened and full of questions.
Firstly, Men blowing the minds of audiences and deliberately walking down a path of outright weirdness is exactly what people expect from an Alex Garland movie. As a (surprisingly ahead of the curve) commentary on social media, self-identity, and man’s relationship to technology, Ex-Machina makes for a tough watch, but that subversive subject matter and unwavering perspective is also arguably the film’s greatest strength. Annihilation then dove deeper into those narrative waters. Garland’s 2018 effort is set up like a regular sci-fi thriller – aliens on Earth, scientists heading to the lion’s den, and more. Annihilation goes, the more abstract these themes become, culminating in an ending that provides all the answers it needs – just not necessarily the ones viewers wanted. those who loved Annihilation did it because of its surreal ambiguity. The audience gets the puzzle pieces, but not the picture on the box, and Men seems to do something very similar. Those who enjoyed Alex Garland’s previous work would have been disappointed with less.
Continuing this tradition of unconventional and genre-changing dishes may well prove to be Menis the best trick. Alas, Garland’s modus operandi is not without considerable risk. Annihilation might have been critically acclaimed, but that effusive praise was not reflected at the box office at all. Garland also found himself under fire from studio executives who judged Annihilation too thought-provoking and intellectual for casual audiences, and quickly steered the film to Netflix. There is indeed a disparity between Annihilationcriticism and public reaction. Regardless of its poor screenings, Rotten Tomatoes measures Annihilation‘s Tomatometer score at 88%, compared to an audience score of 66%.
Should Men head down the same path (and if early indications are good, it absolutely is), the weird and thought-provoking nature of Alex Garland’s Y-chromosome horror film might deter those expecting a festival of more conventional psychological fear, or an ending that does not cause headaches. just like Annihilation and Ex-Machina before that, Men will provoke, challenge and surprise in a way that is naturally divisive. Fans will praise Garland’s audacity, originality and uncompromising vision; others will wonder what they just watched. Therein lies the high-risk, high-reward nature of Alex Garland’s signature style.
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- Men (2022)Release date: May 20, 2022
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