In the Company of Men

Production year 1997
Directed by Neil LaBute
Written by Neil LaBute
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Matt Malloy, Stacy Edwards 

Touted as the most controversial film of the year on its release in 1997, this jet black comedy is the debut film of Neil LaBute who adapted it from his own play of the same name. LaBute, once a member of the Mormon Church, works as much in theatre as cinema and recently directed his play Fat Pig here in London. 

In the Company of Men tells the story of Chad and Howard, two embittered 30-something men who, angry and frustrated by their experiences with women and an increasing sense of losing their place in the world, plan to take a vicious emotional revenge on their female co-worker… 

Like such other recent movies as Sex, Lies and Videotape and Secretary this film delves into difficult and compelling territory and sparked a storm of praise and loathing from critics and audiences alike. One of the movie’s two leads, Aaron Eckhart - who is a college friend of director LaBute - became the focus for these responses. He won an Independent Spirit Award for his performance but also attracted verbal abuse from angry women mistaking him for the appalling character he plays.

In the Company of Men unflinchingly portrays the cruel and ingenious actions of Chad and Howard and completely draws us into their fiendish plot. It is without doubt one of the most intriguing and memorable movies of the 1990s. 

As the tagline on the film’s poster asked – Are all men bastards – or just misunderstood?