The film The Company Men directed by John Wells (2010) throws light on the experiences of people who live in a changing social and economic environment. To a great extent, this cinematographic work focuses on the ruthlessness of the modern corporate culture which lays stress on extreme competitiveness, short-term profits, and material welfare. However, at the same time, this culture excludes such concepts as compassion and the sense responsibility for the needs of other people. This is the main topic of this movie. This paper is aimed at discussing the way in which the authors use different cinematographic techniques in order to explore this theme.
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It should be noted that the film focuses on the lives of Bobby Walker, Gene McClary, and Phil Woodward, the employees who work in a large corporation and up to a certain point, their lives seem to be flawless. In their opinion, there is no threat to their wellbeing (Wells, 2010). However, due to economic difficulties, the senior management of the corporation begins to dismiss people who do not bring immediate revenues to the company (Wells, 2010). The authors use various techniques in order to illustrate this topic.
First of all, the director relies on camera work and editing at the beginning of the film in order to show that the main characters enjoy prosperity. For instance, the viewers can see the interior of the houses in which these people live and one can see that they are well-to-do individuals (Wells, 2010). Moreover, the camera operator shows that the protagonist drives a luxury car. The editing helps the film-makers to demonstrate that these individuals do not expect any difficulties. At first glance, one can see that these people can easily be called successful. This detail is important for describing the social status of the main characters.
Furthermore, one should speak about the dialogues because they illustrate the emotional experiences of characters and their perception of corporate culture. For instance, one can mention the conversation between Bobby Walker and Phil Woodward at the start of the movie. This conversation demonstrates Phil’s inability to accept the idea that he can be fired. He cannot reconcile himself to idea that his previous contributions can simply be ignored by the senior management (Wells, 2010). This example is important for describing the ruthlessness of modern corporate culture. This feeling is familiar to people nowadays, especially at the time of economic recession. This is one of the main details that should be taken into account.
Additionally, it is necessary to examine the language that is used in the film. In contains a great number of financial or business terms such as credit climate, growth opportunities, redundancies, downsizing, outplacement and so forth (Wells, 2010). These terms are frequently used by corporate executives who do not want to speak openly about their intentions (Gandolfi, 2006, p. 5). To a great extent, this language can be called evasive because such words help to conceal the fact that the company passes through a difficult period and that it will have to fire workers. Moreover, this corporate jargon shows that the executives of this corporation are only driven by the need to secure short-term profits, but they are not concerned with the needs of people.
Furthermore, the dialogue helps the authors to highlight the hypocrisy of the corporate culture. For instance, one should mention the conversation between Gene McClary and the CEO of the company, James Salinger. Gene notes that that the company spends an enormous amount of money on the new building for its headquarters, but at the same time, the executives are willing to dismiss workers (Wells, 2010). This moral inconsistency is discussed by many researchers who study ethical aspects of decision-making in companies (Ferrell, 2011). Therefore, dialogue is critical for the analysis of the main themes.
Furthermore, music also plays a vital role in this movie. It helps the viewers to understand the feelings of people, who have suddenly encountered significant hardships. Moreover, they cannot understand why they fall victim to social injustice. One can argue that music reflects their desperation and hope for some improvement.
To a great extent, this film is relevant to the readings covered during this course. In particular, one can refer to Lewis Kent’s book Word and World in which the author discusses the relations between mass media and corporate elite (2006). This film illustrates that mass media can show the limitations of the corporate elite and its unethical practices. Therefore, it is not reasonable to say that they only serve the interest of large corporations. This is one of the main points that can be made.
Overall, this movie gives a compelling description of corporate culture, especially its lack of empathy and stress on profitability and competitiveness. Moreover, this film should not be overlooked since it can show how people overcome difficulties at the time of economic recession. This movie is helpful for evaluation of norms, established in the modern society and businesses. These are some of the main issues that can be identified.
Ferrell, O. (2011). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Gandolfi, F. (2006). Corporate Downsizing Demystified: A Scholarly Analysis of a Business Phenomenon. New York, NY: ICFAI Books.
Lewis, K. (2006) Word and World: A Critical Thinking Reader. Boston, MA: Nelson College Indigenous.
Wells, J. (2010). The Company Men. New York, NY: The Weinstein Company.