Men: Let’s Unpack That Disturbing, Disgusting Ending

This post contains spoilers for Man.

This is what happens at the end Man. Harper (Jessie Buckley) face a bunch of men (all by Rory Kinnear) at the very idyllic country house she is renting. After a series of hallucinatory and violent confrontations, she testifies to her naked stalker — now growing leaves and branches, a living Green Man — to give birth to a man, who gives birth another man, who gave birth to another man, all of whom had torn hands and broken ankles just like the previous one. It’s the violent and blunt horror genre, so repetitive and inexplicable that anyone who can perceive the visuals can finally be paralyzed by the oddity of the writer-cum-writer. created by director Alex Garland.

But then, the births ended. Harper sat on the sofa. All went quietly. Daylight. James, her dead husband (Paapa Essiedu), who haunts her throughout the film, then walks into the room and sits next to her – his ankle is still broken and his arm still torn. In that moment, the violent imagery of previous birth scenes finally makes sense, returning the film to the twin theme it posed in the first place: guilt and grief.

This does not mean Man only on those topics. As that title suggests, the film is also about gender and masculinity and the ways in which women are forced to deal with men who may flirt, abuse, and assault them. It also deals with religion and mythology, to some extent, although the viewer’s degree of engagement with these ideological themes may depend on their personal relationships with those themes. in real life.

But Man, a challenging watch that has proven divisive, is arguably a better film with a more cohesive ending when looking through those themes. During flashbacks with Harper and James, we see the pair argue as James threatens to take his life if she leaves him. In another flashback that continues the scene, James hits Harper, so she kicks him once and for all. In an attempt to get back to the apartment, he dashed into the apartment upstairs, walked on the balcony, slipped and fell to his death. Or maybe he didn’t slip. Maybe he chose to fall. Harper isn’t sure, but she grapples with his death despite it.

Her guilt is evident in the head-to-head fight scenes at the end of the film, when she has to defend herself against a series of men (and a male student, also played by Kinnear), one of which is the Man. the green man who evolved into Gaia. -as is. After putting his hand through the letter slot, Harper stabbed him. He pulled his arm out, ripping it in half. The fact that each subsequent man suffered the same injuries, plus broken ankles, all tied them to James, who suffered the same injuries in the fall that killed him.

James is also the only man in the story who resembles a human, rather than an archetype capable of standing up to bad guys like Nice Guy — as in Geoffrey, a clumsy country landlord who, in the end, discharges himself. out chivalry and attack Harper, then drive away in her car; or the hypocritical vicar whose deep obsession with Harper led to his death. (Next, the vicar scenes feel like the film’s most resonating and toxic masculinity treatise—perhaps because one woman, Jessie Buckley herself, wrote much of the character’s dialogue. .) The fact that Harper was the one stabbing the men in the arm binds her guilt at potentially pushing James to his death.

Courtesy of A24.

Or… something! ManTheir moral and philosophical purpose has the adventurous quality of your choosing. Garland, both in his directing choices and in his many interviews about Man, has been cautious about the film’s meaning, especially its violent ending. He said in the film’s press notes that the image was inspired by “mess with images of sheela-na-gig” – medieval carvings of a revealing female figure. her private parts— “and the Green Man and find his way into what has become a guy with a vagina on his chest. ”

Perhaps in the end, guilt and grief will come to the fore because, in this film, these themes are more about people than ideas. It’s much easier to interact and understand two characters who once loved each other and were separated by abuse and death than it is to understand the meaning of the iconic film, Attack the giant-inspired scene of a man giving birth to a child with another man. (According to the film’s press notes, Kinnear says that the Green Man, an homage to the mythical figure, represents “the rebirth that humans need after grieving,” making the ending a bit of a stretch. into a literal play of that concept.) Men: Let’s Unpack That Disturbing, Disgusting Ending

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