Nobody could have expected the last sequence of Men, the shocking and visionary new film from Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation). Back to the last scene of the horror feature film and what it implies. Warning, spoilers.
Warning, spoilers. The following paragraphs reveal plot elements from the end of the movie Men. If you don’t want to know anything, don’t read on.
After Ex Machina and Annihilationdirector Alex Garland returns with a shocking new film worn by Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear. Currently in theaters Men follows the traumatic experience of Harper, a woman who left to isolate herself in the English countryside in order to rebuild herself after a personal tragedy.
But a strange presence stalks her in this peaceful little village and the violent memories of Harper (Jessie Buckley) come to the surface and transform what was supposed to be a time of peace and resilience into a real nightmare.
With Men, Alex Garland offers a shocking and visionary new cinematic experience, between body horror and psychological drama, by summoning symbols, metaphors and legends mixed with horror and fantasy to dissect the relationship of violence between men and women. .
In turn, the film goes from fantasy to humor and drama to a crazy last act that no one could have expected and which explains the ban on under 12s with a warning at the cinema. Indeed, after being harassed and attacked by several men or archetypes of men with the same face (Rory Kinnear), Harper witnesses a bewildering and visually impacting scene.
The male breeds evil
She sees the Green Man, the very first Man from the forest who harassed her, trying to break into the house, all while taking on his different threatening forms (the policeman, the child or the priest) . But Harper manages to defend herself and attack and wound her assailant.
It is then that the weakened Man ends up falling to the ground and giving birth to another Man like him. Who also engenders another Man with the same appearance. And so on, sometimes through improbable vaginal openings. Each new Man that is born is weaker, meaner, grotesque.
Until the last born is actually James (Paapa Essiedu), Harper’s ex-husband who was an abusive husband to her and who committed suicide after a violent domestic dispute. When Harper asks him what he really wants from her, he simply replies “Your love”.
An infantile and pathetic request that only meets his needs, without taking into account the consent or the needs and desires of his partner whom he objectifies as a mother and nurturer, who should bring him unconditional love, which were also looking for the Men who were chasing her.
And this representation of misogyny, which comes in these different types of Man through symbolism and other biblical figures, seems to be a way for Alex Garland to overturn the established codes and presuppositions according to which original sin would come from Woman. . The idea that all women would carry within them the sins of Eve (with the image of the apple that we see in the film) is thus criticized with a completely different reading.
Men would then carry with them their own sins of violence and misogyny, relics of a patriarchal society. And that these traits would be inherent to their being since they are constantly reproduced by birth in the film. The male would breed evil. An evil as terrifying as it is pathetic faced by Harper.
While it’s unclear what the outcome of this latest exchange between Harper and James is, we find her next in the post-credits scene alone, at peace with herself and freed from the weight of that old toxic relationship.
After the title card “MEN”, Harper is joined by her friend Riley (Gayle Rankin), with whom she previously communicated by telephone. When Riley arrives, she can only see the damage and the liters of blood on the ground. This confirms that all of the traumatic events Harper has experienced are real and that she is a survivor.
According to Alex Garland, this post-credits scene was originally supposed to contain dialogue but he eventually cut it. The director revealed this during a Q&A in New York (via polygon): “The dialogue seemed redundant next to the smile.”
In any case, Alex Garland refuses to comment too much on his film so as not to spoil the experience of the public: “It all gets a bit psychoanalytical if I talk about it too much. I think it might get in the way [la lecture du spectateur]. In this film in particular, I especially wanted to take a step back because the very idea of the film is to open up to different interpretations.
The trailer for Men, in theaters June 8: