Alex Garland Knows You Might Hate His Latest ‘Men’ Movie

Alex Garland has never been shy about unusual endings. science fiction movie 2018, extermination, adapted a mind-blowing bestseller and puts a poetic spin on her final showdown, as Natalie Portman performs a ballet fight with an alien version of herself. Then the TV show was presented DevelopersA mysterious tech suspense thriller whose epilogue unfolds on a parallel multiverse. So surprisingly, the writer and director seem nervous about the final chapter of the new horror movie, menWhich will be released in theaters next week. “I think sometimes, My God, I dug myself into a weird vanity holeGarland told me. But he added that, as a narrator, he felt obligated to cross the line: “I’m afraid of not taking the risk of someone else giving you, you know?”

Garland kept coming back to this idea in our interview: that having a movie is a “privilege” and an opportunity for daring, even if the outcome alienates some viewers. “I think sometimes there is a huge pressure in the film industry, of all kinds, to be very conservative. You want to attract as many audiences as possible, so you have to limit the kind of risk you take,” he said. “And that sounds like a shame. So, in a way, if I see a big swing, I’m really only interested in taking it right away.” Which helps explain the complex nature of his latest A24 movie.

Looking at the tense trailers and Garland’s movie, the audience might enter men Expect a little piece of horror. But the illusion of intimacy is deceptive. The film follows the story of Harper (played by Jesse Buckley), a woman who retreats to an English country house after her husband’s death (played in Flashbacks by Paapa Essiedu). Her host is an eccentric tack named Jeffrey (Rory Kinnear), who shows her around the house talking funny. But during her stay, she encounters several other characters, including a policeman, a bartender, a deputy, a bad-mouthed kid, and a mysterious leaf-covered monster stalking her, all played by Kinnear. What at first seems like a simple tale of Harper trying to overcome trauma while trapped by strange forces turns into something even more mysterious.

These evil forces have mysterious motives in ways that might frustrate viewers – and Garland seems to know that. He wrote his first draft of the film about 15 years ago, between writing the science fiction epic Danny Boyle Sunrise Adaptation of the novel by Mark Romanek never let me go. At that time, Garland was still known only as a novelist and screenwriter. His directorial debut with the acclaimed ex machine It came in 2014. It was originally imagined men As a straightforward horror movie centered around the story’s most frightening creation, the Green Man. The folklore form can be spotted in ancient architecture in many parts of the world, and its meaning is often ambiguous. “There is a lot of speculation about what they represent. Maybe like Rebirth, or Spring, or maybe they were related to things like the Green Knight,” Garland said.

In the end, he pushed the green man further into the background, and began to contemplate the idea of ​​an actor playing all the male roles, making who – which The central puzzle of the plot. He became excited about the explanatory possibilities. “What is he doing that [casting imply]? What is the question? ‘ asked Garland. ‘Because the movie and the protagonist never comment on it. You never noticed.” It’s the best and most disturbing element of the entire movie. Like anyone who’s seen the trailers, I knew about Kinnear’s casting, but the longer he was in the movie unaddressed, the more obsessed I was with what was going on.” Are all these guys are the same and you don’t notice?” Garland said be seen All men are alike, even though they are really different? These questions are incredibly similar in wording, but have very different implications. That was exactly the kind of question I wanted to ask without an answer.”

This deliberate ambiguity may baffle audiences, and in menConspiracies often turn into fear. As the frightening events around Harper become more and more sinister, easy explanations are scarce, but the film is full of the symbolism behind its central casting, giving viewers plenty to nibble on during repeated viewing. Most of Darren Aronofsky’s story has been remembered Pain! Or Luca Guadagnino suspenseAttracting artistic horror films that stayed with me for months after watching them because of what was left unanswered.

men It would probably have drowned out its own quirkiness had it not been for its dynamic threads. Kinnear, one of Britain’s most talented stage actors, has given great performances in films such as Mike Leigh Peterloo (She played a minor role in several James Bond films.) “When I first thought about it, I was thinking about it [someone like] Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Steve Coogan – The People I’ve Saw [play multiple roles on-screen]Garland said. “But Rory felt he was the stronger choice… I knew he wouldn’t do both characters as paper tricks. He would give them something honest.”

Some of the characters, such as the Reverend and Jeffrey the Owner, are cynical “Little England” characters who are polite while loathing the hidden darkness. Others, such as the green man or the little boy, are threatening more directly. “what [Kinnear] “He did something incredibly natural and rooted and with an understated threat,” Garland said. As Kinnear moves between characters, Buckley plays someone under near-permanent siege, grappling with the pain of her past and the chaos of her present. Garland wanted actors who had ideas about their characters that he wouldn’t have brought out on his own. “And when I met Jesse, she said a whole bunch of things about Harper that wouldn’t have happened to me,” he said.

Most discussion about men It likely revolves around its ending, which, while downright sinister, disregards horror conventions (moderate spoiler in the future). “Some people really hate it. The things that some people want or need during these moments are really cool. The reason they find it unsatisfactory or others find it satisfying… I can go on with that for ages,” Garland said. By the end of the movie, what is known The beast is theoretically at its weakest, most pathetic, and most hopeless.”

This reflection menThe most compelling idea, even more so than how Kinnear was published. Garland expressed excitement but also some concern as he was trying so hard to defy the horror genre with his ending. “It’s all very well done on paper. But then when you cut it and shoot it, but especially you edit it, you have a problem … At the point where you want the monster to be more dangerous, it is at least dangerous, “He said. “But that’s the thing about taking big swings.”

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