It has been called misogynistic, homophobic and downright " nasty, but lads' culture movie In The Company Of Men makes compulsive viewing. Its star AARON ECKHART says it's just a matter of office politics. Words: Lila Rawlings

.\llS()(}Y.\'Y. ll().\l()|’ll()Bl.\. RACISM and that's .illsl for starters. With an unflinching attitude to so many cottlt'oy'et'sitll issues. it's unsurprising that the American film In The ('(mi/mny' (Ill/en has had the l’(‘ hrigade up in arms.

From its premiere screening at the Sundance Film l’estiy'al last year where it won the pri/e for hest drama to a puhlicist getting thumped after a showing in .\'ew York. it has split audiences and turned quiet ey'enings into long. heated dehates ahout sex and power. Time magazine e\'en suggested it could he the first hate moyie to hecome a hig date

respectiy‘e girlfriends and ('had hatches an ingenious plan for reyenge: find a woman they will both layish with loy'e. then. just as she is ahout to declare undying deyotion. dutnp her from a great height. let‘s do it.‘ (‘had says. ‘l.et‘s hurt somehody.~

Shot in eleyen days fora mere 835.000. In The ('ompuny' (I/flllen is proof that you don't need to raise the Titanic to get people talking. Lead actor Aaron lickhart with the classic Aryan looks of 5. young Robert Redford u is less cocky than his onscreen character (had. hut is noticeahly unwilling to he drawn on the

This is lickhart’s first leading film role he was a friend of |.aBute at l'tah's Mormon-run Brigham Young l'niyersity. where he appeared in sey‘eral of the director's plays. liekhart heliey‘es the film’s true arena is the world of corporate husiness. and men's hehayiour in what is essentially a Darwinian eny‘ironment. l’or research. he cayesdropped in Wall Street cocktail hars just as the young executiy'es and hrokers arriy ed for their opin Martinis.

"l‘hese are Very powerful people in that they" are so hungry for money and power.‘ say s

'When I meet people who have seen the film, the response is usually inevitable. They tell me that I am a prick, or else they want to tell me the story of how they got dumped and how it felt.’

Aaron Eckhart


’l‘he dehut feat— ure hy' director .\'eil latBlllC. it follows

two thirtysome- thing executives seconded to a distant. unnamed city for six weeks to set up a hranch office. (‘had is all hunky. frat-hoy good looks and expensiye dentistry. Howard is a small. motisy. corporate nerd who also happens to he (‘had‘s hoss. 'l‘hey hoth share hard luck stories ahout heing dumped hy their

14 THEUST 2T: ‘~:=:: 1)


charges of misogyny that haye heen ley'elled at the film.

‘I don‘t really know much ahout the arguments inyoly'ed in sexual politics.'he grins. 'hut hopefully the audience realise they are watching something more than just a hacklash thing.‘

lickhart. 'All they talk ahout is money and “The Deal” and how they are going to get it all. If you aren't strong in that situation. then you don‘t sury'iy‘e. If you are stlt'y'iy'ittg. then you mast he hanging out with other strong people and you lime to fight them it‘s a caged animal mentality.