Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Homage or rip off?

This is a genuine question. You may have seen the posters for The Company Men, a redundancy drama starring Hollywood’s finest, littering up your local bus shelter. Does it remind you of anything? Hmm? A bunch of wage slaves worry …

Sun, Mar 6, 2011, 14:56

   

This is a genuine question. You may have seen the posters for The Company Men, a redundancy drama starring Hollywood’s finest, littering up your local bus shelter. Does it remind you of anything?

Hmm? A bunch of wage slaves worry beneath a grinding metaphor: the tightrope walker suggests, I imagine, the precarious nature of their employment. Very clever. Very resonant. Very like the poster for a better film.

Look, it’s the same metaphor. It’s hard to know what the distributors’ intentions are here. Glengarry Glen Ross is a peculiar beast. It didn’t make much money on release and most contemporaneous critics viewed it as a fairly unimaginative — though brilliantly acted — version of a fine David Mamet play. (Of a David Mamet play? Yes, a play by David Mamet. David Mamet wrote the play. A play by David Mamet.) Since its release in 1992, however, it has gained a deserved cult following. By referencing the earlier piece, the folk behind The Company Men are, surely, just going to remind us how ordinary their dialogue is in comparison to Mamet’s. (To Mamet’s dialogue? Yes, David f***ing Mamet’s dialogue. Mamet wrote the dialogue.)

Then again, maybe the reference was subconscious or entirely accidental. After all, Leibniz and Newton came up with the calculus independently.

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