The Man Who Wasn’t There offers a classical Coen Brothers movie experience. This is a slow-burning noir thriller with an authentic atmosphere and excellent characters. They’re always struggling to just get by or are about to make it when faith intervenes. That’s life for you. You shouldn’t be dismayed by the black and white visuals as they only add to the charm of the movie. And the cast was perfect, as it always is in Coen Brothers movies.
Of course, Billy Bob Thornton stole the show here. He even looks like he’s time traveled from the thirties and was a perfect choice for this role. A role of a man in a constant struggle with himself. And that chain-smoking was such a nice touch although not very surprising for 1949 but more about that later. The rest of the plot is very reminiscent of one of their earlier movies, Blood Simple.
I also have to add that the pacing is really slow. So be prepared for that, think about life and other shit and you should be fine. And another piece of advice, if you’re not in the mood for something like this, don’t watch it. Just remember that it’s there and then watch it when you’re feeling really low and depressed. It’s like the story and characters in The Man Who Wasn’t There counterbalance all the shit in your life and make you feel better. Or is this just me?
Ed Crane is a simple man. He works as a barber and enjoys smoking cigarettes as much as he can. He does not care much about the world around him. However, one day a stranger walks into his barber shop and offers him a lucrative deal. Ed only has to come up with $10,000 and he would be set for life. And this is where the trouble begins.
I know people like Ed, working menial jobs and living lives of quiet suffering. The cigarettes and alcohol are there to numb the pain and quicken the exit. Hell, I know how they feel because we’re all Ed to some degree! Now, I think that The Man Who Wasn’t there isn’t the best Coen Brothers movie. It’s a bit too predictable and features a lot of half-developed ideas. However, it’s still much, much better than the usual Hollywood dribble so be sure to check it out.
Director: Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Shalhoub
Fun Stuff: Billy Bob Thornton didn’t even read the script before he said yes to the movie. He knew Coen Brothers only make good movies.