The Man Who Wasn't There
A tale of passion, crime and punishment set in the summer of 1949. Ed Crane, a barber in a small California town, is dissatisfied with his life, but his wife Doris' infidelity presents him with a chance to change it.
This is a brilliant homage to noir. The Coen brothers add their own style and characters to a long dead genre. A small town barber has his life turned upside down when he discovers his wife is cheating on him. Events unfold and he continues to fall in a downward spiral. The story is characteristically Coen and characteristically noir.
I have a thing for modern black and white, something about it, the crisp visuals mixed with the classy style just works wonders. The cinematography is also fantastic, some of the best I've seen in a Coen brothers film. They really work in a lot of elements from Noir cinema that aren't just in the story. It's shot similarly with use…
(Part 8 of The Possibly Decades Spanning Coen Brothers Marathon)
" I was a ghost. I didn't see anyone. No one saw me. I was the barber."
I'm a massive fan of the Coen Brothers.
I'm a massive fan of neo-noir films.
So it's fair to say that I loved this.
Everything about this film is just outstanding, especially the fantastic script and of course, Billy Bob Thornton's stoic, emotionless, seemingly unfazed Ed Crane, with his narration throughout the film coming close to being absolutely perfect. Then you've got a brilliant supporting cast as well, led by the always great Frances McDormand and James Gandolfini, helping to make this film just amazing. And of course, the way's shot as well, although that really goes without saying.
More proof (as if I needed any) that the Coens' are simply geniuses.
"Me, I don't talk much... I just cut the hair."
The Coens just never fail in my eyes. They magically turn something that could easily be boring, tiring or just plain predictable, into something beautiful, captivating and intriguing. Count me impressed.
The movie is beautiful. The look and feel is fantastic. The shots are just incredible. I don't know how to say this more clearly, but visually, The Man Who Wasn't There is every bit as stunning as you've been promised by various reviews and expectations.
Even if you should be one of the few who doesn't dig the "colourless" style, Billy Bob is still mesmerizing - listening to the sound of his voice alone is enough to keep you locked in your seat. I could even close my eyes and just lie back and let the words of Billy take over, and I'd still be caught in the sheer poetic wonder that is The Man Who Wasn't There.
After watching Synecdoche, New York I wanted to watch my previous choice for the best of the decade to be able to decide firmly. Admittedly this is an odd choice for the best film of the decade, or even the best film of 2001. But I truly think that this is the Coen Brothers most overlooked film, an absolutely excellent noir tribute that is fascinating and profound.
The cinematography is beautiful. The acting by all is absolutely great. The music is outstanding. All of this is still true. I will say, however, that the movie didn't overwhelm quite as much as it had before. Perhaps it was just a little too soon for a rewatch. Still, I loved it and…
I admired the restraint here, whereas other Coen movies go off-the-rails with craziness and idiotic characters making idiotic decisions, this movie held everyone on pretty even ground. I mean, all of those elements are still there, this is still a Coen's movie, but even the craziness, idiots, and symbolism are understated. Seeing this through the lens of a decade makes a difference. I understand that this, following O BROTHER's genre mimicry was causing some unrest amongst fans that the brothers were becoming imitators of their earlier inspirations, but it really doesn't look that way when you watch it today. It's smart, slow but steady, and aloof enough to really soak in the aesthetics without getting bombarded with insanity and dense symbolism you'd expect from the brothers.
It also sports Billy Bob's best performance ever, I'd say, whose excellence is a nice contrast against the miscast James Gandolfini who is just playing Tony Soprano, which is distracting as fuck.
I know this is a rare opinion compared to most other people's favorite Coen Brothers' films -- but just under Barton Fink, this movie sits as my second favorite Coens flick (fuck me, right?!), which very well puts it in my top ten favorite movies of all time.
If this movie was done by anyone other than the Coens, I don't think it would have been nearly as magical. The story, simple enough, in terms of film-noir, but blended with the Coens' unique dialogue and offbeat humor, it really becomes something great. The cinematography is beautiful (especially that scene with the dotted veil (and the very last scene)), the acting was superb, and every minute of the film grabs you, and doesn't let go until the credits roll.
"He told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. And then he said the facts had no meaning."
"Will just go to the facts. Billy Bob Thornton & Frances McDormand are terrific as always. Tony Shalhoub is great. Richard Jenkins & a very pretty 17-year old Scarlett Johansson were decent in their small roles. Excellent cinematography from the always-great Roger Deakins. This another great film from The Coen Bros."
The Coen brothers further prove their skill as they depart from the lighthearted comedy of The Big Lebowski to the black and white canvas of a neo-noir thriller.
The film manages to act as both a homage to neo-noir, while simultaneously being a worthy entry into the genre. Style is very much key to the success of this film, which doesn't try anything new with the genre, but does a great job of simply abiding by it's genre conventions, and injecting the story with some fantastic performances.
Billy Bob Thornton and James Gandolfini are truly terrific in this film, especially Thornton - who's character is as grey as the films palette, and offers a suitably stoic performance. James Gandolfini is…
hagan de cuenta dashiell hammett esquina franz kafka.
As far back as their debut "Blood Simple," (more on that later today), the Coens have found new ways to explode and warp the noir genre. So what do they do in this story of a barber, who's so introverted and passive that it feels like he's in a coma even when he's walking and talking, who gets involved with a dry-cleaning scheme which leads to his adulterous wife being accused of murder?
Why throw in some space aliens, musings on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the mortality of human hair, and the unknowable nature of life and our relationship with the cosmos. What else?
In a weird way, this is the Coens' "Taxi Driver." Ed Crane (a never-better Billy Bob…
The Coen's best, right after Fargo. Beautiful B&W photography, and a riveting and sometimes insightful story, one that's almost unusual for the Bros.. Thornton is phenomenal.
Odd one this; while it brilliantly presented in black and white and the sets are beautiful to look at and there are some great performances from the main cast, I just couldn't help but feel there was something missing here. The film just seemed to lose it's way slightly and in the end you find yourself clock watching as the film drags out.
The Coen Brothers are generally strong directors and if done right, I can get into noir films. On the whole, The Man Who Wasn't There works, but while it's definitely interesting, I'm not exactly sure it was all that compelling. That can maybe be attributed to the fact that Ed Crane is a hard person to really sympathize for or with, and that serves to keep us sort of at a distance from everything rather than bring us in. But I did like the performances, and the story progresses in typical Coen Brothers fashion, but I found that other films of theirs such as No Country For Old Men and Blood Simple pulled off this kind of crime story much better. Good movie, just not great.
Cohen Bros. working their magic as usual. Billy Bob is flawless and the supporting cast is fantastic as well. Brilliant cinematography. All that said, I think the pace was a bit slow at times but I guess it's just that kind of a movie. Recommended for the noir enthusiasts.