The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn't There

DVD - 2002
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In a sleepy Northern California town in the 1940s, Ed Crane, a humble barber, suspeacts that his wife Doris is having an affair with her boss. When a stranger comes into town hinting that there is a fortune to be made in investing in the new invention of dry cleaning, Ed hatches a blackmail scheme he hopes will make him rich and get him some revenge at the same time. His plan goes horribly awry when he accidentally commits a murder for which Doris is blamed, landing her in jail, and Ed at the mercy of big-city lawyer Freddy Riedenschneider.


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Jan 12, 2019

Rated 1/10. I found this to be an extremely annoying and disappointing movie. After 20 minutes, I'd had enough.

Feb 18, 2018

Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thorton) is a mild-mannered barber in Santa Rosa in the 1940s. He's a good guy. He wants to break free of his mundane existence. He is a bit naive and trusts in the wrong person. He only means to screw over someone who has done him wrong a little, but things start to unravel. His wife (Frances McDormand) is ambitious and drinks too much, but he cares about her. Things go awry. He seeks solace in the tranquility of his friend's home where the man's teenage daughter (Scarlett Johansson) plays Beethoven beautifully on the piano. Can Ed find peace without living a mundane life after his life is turned upside down? Things are never that simple. Funny how Santa Rosa shows up as the back drop to noir films like this and Hitchcock's 1943 film, 'Shadow of a Doubt.' Perhaps this 2001 film by the Coen brothers is a tip of the hat to Hitch. This film, like all of the Coen brothers films, is very well made with great attention to detail. It has a knock out cast. Billy Bob's blase narration contribute to the feel of the film. The creases in his face show his weariness.

Jan 29, 2017

Most noir films are short, sharp, and shocking. But The Man Who Wasn't There is slow, dull and predictable. The elements are there: a little man, a big temptation, ironic twists, downfall. But the film seems mesmerized by its own beautiful black-and-white photography. Billy Bob Thornton's monotone narration and the sleep-inducing soundtrack suck out what little energy there is. Everyone gives as good a performance as he can (interesting to see Scarlett Johansson giving her signature zombie-like performance, even at this early age), but it's hard to care about characters who have one ironic foot outside their own world. Film buffs may enjoy references to Hitchcock's and other movies of the era.

Oct 22, 2015

Coen brothers made me think this movie had a chance... it was disappointing. I liked that it was shot in B&W, but that's about all. Young girl falls for old man, meh. Is Frances McDormand becoming Clint Howard for the brothers? Don't get me wrong, she's a good actress I just wonder if there are additional options. I could think of lots of things to do other than watching this movie.

Oct 06, 2015

A bit slow, but it hooked me and I watched to the end - LOTS of cigarette smoking...

May 20, 2015

This is a 2001 British-American neo-noir film written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.
Although the performances of Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand are superb, the stolyline is disgusting.
If the screenplay is bad, even a talented director can't make it into a good movie.
Besides, the main character talks too much as a narrator, though he is a low-key taciturn man in the real life.
And the UFO is a letdown.
After all, this film is way below standard---if not a flop.

Feb 15, 2014

I loved this film. Beautifully photographed, with great classically scored accompaniment. Dry tongue-in-cheek wit following the futility of Ed Crane's mundane monotony, and the collapse of his house of cards of a life after an act of desperation. Everyone in the cast was terrific. I really thought this quirky Coen bros. piece was well done.

lasertravis May 13, 2013

I really enjoyed this throwback crime drama. Paired with The Good German, which I watched recently, it really captured a classic movie look without the dated feel that I find hard to watch. The pacing is slow (shocker. Coen.) but I enjoyed the twists and turns. I thought all the performances were spot on. I can see how this wouldn't be for everyone because of the dry narrative by Thornton, the black and white photography and the slow pacing.

Nov 04, 2012

OK. Meet Ed Crane. Ed is a so-so barber from Smalltown, California - circa 1949._____ Ed's a real dead-faced, chain-smoking son-of-a-sod who's forever dropping his cigarette ash onto the heads of his customers while he robotically cuts their hair._____ Even though Ed's the title character in this film he barely utters a single word throughout the entire length of this picture. Ed's inability to get involved in even the simplest of conversations is unbelievably annoying. But it seems that none of the other characters in this screwy film seem to mind Ed's puzzling lapses into dead silence. _____ Even though Ed's character may not have much to gab about to those around him, he literally never shuts his trap when it comes to his voice-over narration nonsense. I can't begin to tell you how stupid I found the effect of this whole voice-over business to be._____ Well, eventually Ed, the chain-smoking mute, gets involved in murder and to prove what a total heel he really is, allows his wife to take the rap for it. _____ All in all, The Man Who Wasn't There was worthless, mediocre entertainment._____ Filmed in b&w.

Sep 17, 2009

Just not up to the usual Coen standard of excellence.


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Feb 15, 2014

Ed Crane (transfixed on the scalp of a young boy, to whom he's just given a buzzcut): "Frank?" Frank: "Hmm?" Ed Crane: "...This hair..." Frank: "Yeah." Ed Crane: "You ever wonder about it?" Frank: "Whattya mean?" Ed Crane: "I don't know... How it keeps on coming. It just keeps growing." Frank: "Yeah! Lucky for us, huh pal?" Ed Crane: "No, I mean -- it keeps growing... It's part of us... and we cut it off and throw it away..."

Feb 15, 2014

Ed Crane: "I was a ghost. I didn't see anyone. No one saw me. ...I was the barber."

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