HOLLYWOOD—Ben Affleck has become an even better actor than I ever imagined he would. After last year’s award-worthy performance in “The Town,” I thought that he’d possibly hit his highest level and performance as an actor, only to be pleasantly surprised by his work in “The Company of Men.” The film gives a sobering look at what happens with corporate layoffs and firings. Men who once measured their happiness and standards with how much they made, lose it all and have to reassess their value as men, as professionals, and most importantly, their new opinions of themselves as family men. The solid performance of Affleck is one of the great high points of this picture, but it doesn’t stop there.

Both Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones also offer sobering, solid and magnificent performances. Costner’s finally found a film that profits from his almost dry style of acting. This is not saying that his style is bad or boring, it’s just something that doesn’t play well in romantic dramas, but in this film he rises to the occasion and his work is excellent. Tommy Lee Jones has never given a bad performance and don’t expect him to start this time around.

Television producer and director John Wells breaks the glass ceiling that many television professionals often face when they make an effort to convey their style and their vision on the big screen. Wells does an excellent job of utilizing just enough of his huge stars in this film and makes them play well with lesser known stars, which creates a realistic version of corporate downsizing. Isn’t it the case that someone at the very top seems to collapse alongside the middle management in these real situations?

This film is certainly not something that will appeal to everyone. There is no fantasy, big budget computer imagery or explosions with special effects. It’s a realistic and extremely sobering look at perhaps the Great Depression of the 21st century. Those of us who survived it feel like we’ve become stronger and will never be the same again. That’s how Affleck and Jones play their roles. You feel as if they actually lived the disaster of the global economic collapse of 2008.

Rosemary DeWitt as Maggie gives a heart-wrenching performance without all the drama and too many tears. The story moves quickly and doesn’t have a boring point at any place in the flick. This reviewer gives “The Company of Men” Four Stars out of Five.