imagine if Lars von Trier directed an episode of The League of Gentlemen

Men. Honestly, how are we? Well, if Alex Garland’s new movie has any measure of our own, you might prefer not to know. Garland’s amazing first project since his 2020 miniseries Devs is a chilling, modern-day fairy tale in which male manipulation of women — belittlement aside, emotional blackmail, insincere grasp of victim status, and so on — is treated not as discreet insults, but as connected gestures are performed in an obscene ancient ritual.

Its plot ties in with the myth of the Green Man, whose green visage lurks in the stonework of churches across Britain and Europe, and whom Garland reimagines as the original symbol of reckless covetousness and malevolence: the perpetual pervert in the bushes, torn between desires to pry and fall.

The film’s interest in masculine entitlements also alludes to Garland’s 2014 AI thriller Ex Machina, in which two self-absorbed technicians are derailed after failing to realize that the woman they consider the lead lady in their own life stories is is also the protagonist of her own . But Men is a looser, wackier, funnier, more nihilistic work – starting out as a familiar, if polished, country stalk-’em-up, then morphing into a wacky and unforgiving Rorschach blot of sheer depravity and terror, or maybe a league the Gentlemen episode with guest direction by Lars von Trier. It’s the kind of film that shocks you in three ways at once: the grim openness of its themes, the cool precision of its craft, and the nightmarish throb of its imagery.

It begins when a young woman named Harper (Jessie Buckley) travels to the country after losing her husband (Paapa Essiedu), who has fallen to his death under circumstances that initially prove difficult to decipher. A prologue shows him storming past the balcony of the couple’s London flat with an expression more puzzled than frightened, though his wife’s is smeared by rain-splattered glass onto a screaming Francis Bacon canvas.

To recover from this shock, Harper has booked a fortnight’s solo stay at a quaint Gloucestershire farmhouse owned by Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear), a rosy-cheeked, mustard-cord and Barbour-jacketed guy who jokingly chides her on arrival for not ate an apple from the tree in the garden outside. (“I’m not allowed to. Forbidden fruit,” he chuckles.) While exploring the surrounding forest, she discovers an abandoned railroad tunnel with unusual echo properties: a moment of surreal beauty, which collapses in panic when a silhouette appears at the other end of the aisle and runs towards her.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/men-review-imagine-lars-von-trier-directed-episode-league-gentlemen/ imagine if Lars von Trier directed an episode of The League of Gentlemen


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