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27. MEN

Garland's MEN has a lot to unpack, and I fully suspect the film will split audiences down the middle. Ex-Machina was a straightforward film while Annihilation asked a bit too much from its audience within the last 20 minutes. Men walks in the path of Annihilation with a bonkers final act that will have you scratching your head, hiding behind your fingers, and either rolling your eyes or nodding in approval. Men is divisive and I always appreciate something that is polarizing.

Garland is playing with two main colour schemes here. Red, which is mainly used in the flashbacks with Harper and her husband. These scenes are quite engaging and showcase some amazing talent from Jessie Buckley. The other is green, which we are bathed in with Harper's walks within nature. These scenes act as some form of healing for Harper. She is finally letting go, being herself and at peace. We even get to see a smile creep upon her face. The cinematography is quite gorgeous at times and Garland once again uses nature as a device for his films.

There are a lot of themes at play here, some subtle, some not so much. When Harper first arrives at the house, she plucks an apple from the tree and eats it. The owner of the house even mentions "forbidden fruit" to her. While we never actually see any snakes slithering around, there is a scene involving a tunnel that is shot with scale like bricks that surrounds our protagonist that the visually imagery cannot be denied. There's even a naked man who starts covering himself with leaves.

Two people walked out of my theatre when the naked man shows up at her house. This is when things start to get weird and we see Rory Kinnear play more than one role. In fact, he plays every male role in this film except for that of her husband. Harper does not react to this at all, so this is something for the audience only. All men are the same? I'm not sure, is it that obvious? Later on one of these men receives a gnarly injury. That injury is transferred to every other man in this story. It's later on that we see these injuries are actually the exact same sustained by her husband after he either jumped or fell from their building. The film doesn't answer if his death was intentional or not, but he did threaten to kill himself if she divorces him. That scene in particular stands out to me as one of the best in this movie. Stellar acting.

The film's third act becomes a home invasion type movie where we are treated to some bizarre imagery of men giving birth to themselves over and over. To say that this is all in her head or it was all a dream is a bit insulting to the writer/director. There is more at play here, which is then confirmed by the quick epilogue at the end. Though, that might raise more questions than answers for some people. Annihilation suffered from the same logical problems. Is Garland more concerned with metaphors? Maybe.

Men is a horror movie that looks gorgeous, uses sound to its creative advantage and takes a wild turn that might drive some people away completely. I'm here for it, it's fine if others are not.