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Overall Rating
4.02

Awesome: 35.37%
Worth A Look43.9%
Average: 9.76%
Pretty Bad: 9.76%
Total Crap: 1.22%

7 reviews, 40 user ratings


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Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001)
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by Greg Muskewitz

"A furtive curveball."
4 stars

The Man Who Wasn’t There certainly allowed me to warm up to the Coen Brothers more than usual.

Its story is that of an innocuous and quiet barber; as life noisily passes him by (he’s only second-in-command in the barbershop, while his wife is having an affair with her boss) he wants to take a chance with funding a dry-cleaning operation. How to come up with the necessary $10,000? Blackmail his wife’s adulterating accomplice. What I found to be the most admirable aspect of the film was its unpredictability, despite how it trails off into obscurity during the last act (the film as a whole, that is). The Coen Brothers have a way at carefully pacing and constructing their film while still preventing it from appearing plotted. And no one can quite deliver the curveballs that Ethan and Joel Coen furtively pitch. I cannot deny the brothers’ multitudinous approach to storytelling, despite the inter-relatedness of criminality and noir-ish dimensions common of their style. Their mark is consistent, but their layout is anomalous. The Coens can take a theme five times and prepare it with alternating ingredients, and arrive at five separate outcomes and flavors. That is not the same as differentiating dishes altogether, but for the person who does not seek overwhelming deviations, this regimen is one worth investing in. The second-most important reason The Man Who Wasn’t There is worth seeing (tied with Roger Deakins’ crisp and smooth black-and-white cinematography), is for Billy Bob Thornton. Although he spends more time narrating than speaking, his somber pensiveness is carried across and gives something for Thornton to lose himself in.

With Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Shalhoub, James Gandolfini, Michael Badalucci, Richard Jenkins and Jon Polito.

[Worth-seeing.]

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5568&reviewer=172
originally posted: 10/06/02 13:01:52
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User Comments

5/26/11 matt the evil man doesn't believe he's evil. ed crane is insane. he justifies everything to hims 5 stars
2/27/11 Platypussy Drifts and drifts and drifts 1 stars
6/01/10 User Name Style over substance, Coens or not. 3 stars
5/28/10 PAUL SHORTT STYLISH THRILLER WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
1/25/09 Tony A quiet storm of ironic humor and delicate drama shot beautifully in black & white. 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor One of the Coens' best films so far. Very dark. The cinematography is amazing. 5 stars
9/25/05 D Buckley God, the Coen boys are starting to suck... 2 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold The radically overrated Coens do a great job, or at least the cinematographer does. 4 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot makes you wonder why more black n white films arent made.beautifully shot,great cast. 5 stars
5/05/04 A F It was good. I love Scarlett. 4 stars
4/05/04 Miss Julie I think I'm in love with Billy Bob Thornton too. I didn't think that was possible. Riveting 5 stars
7/29/03 NBCraftsman A precise study of "light, shadows, cigarettes (&) Beethoven", Coen style... 4 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Great film with amazing acting. There is nothing wrong with this film. 5 stars
9/15/02 Joe Zappa (I'm Back!) A little overrated, but it's pretty cool. 4 stars
7/15/02 The Motherfucking Hell Nazi Yeah, the UFO seemed irrelevant. Scarlet Johannson is a treasure. Give her more roles 5 stars
6/10/02 The Bomb 69 too slow to keep my attention fully, interesting twist at the end, whats up with the UFO? 4 stars
5/26/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi this was a beautiful film, and i think im falling for billy bob as well 5 stars
5/20/02 Phil M. Aficianado 5 Stars, minus one for the UFO side trip. What was THAT about? Mesmerizing and unique; fun 4 stars
4/26/02 Jeff Lecky your so right dave it hurts... good movie! 4 stars
4/25/02 Dave MacDougall it's no "Blood Simple" but it's worth seeing... 4 stars
4/23/02 Monday Morning Great looking film. Too bad it got slower and slower as it went on. 4 stars
4/19/02 Jubei It's an excellent b/w trip back to the film noir era with amazing direction, acting etc. 4 stars
4/18/02 Spyguy2 Is it over yet? NEXT!.... 2 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo The best film of 2001...Brilliantly written, acted, and directed...Darkly funny 5 stars
3/17/02 Teresa The characters kept doing the most unexpected things. 4 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy A gorgeous film, visually and script-wise. 5 stars
2/28/02 Chowie beautiful film, great storyline, bawled my eyes out at the end, billy bob was great 5 stars
1/21/02 Geire Kami flawless 5 stars
1/03/02 ^Elendil^ ... and it's very funny. 4 stars
12/28/01 matthew smith a film to admire 4 stars
12/27/01 Belinda Great! Cast to perfection. 4 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle It IS a classy film, lovely photography, but I found it v slow personally.............. 3 stars
12/10/01 Neil Austin The Coens are Princes' among paupers. If only they could pump out films as quickly as Woody 5 stars
12/07/01 Philip (Flip) Kromer The longer it's been the more sense the movie makes... A deep work that stays with you 5 stars
11/15/01 Big D. Rivals Memento for best film of the year, this is a beautiful hitchcockian/coen hybrid. 5 stars
11/11/01 Robert Was it 'kinda boring'? Yes, but that was the entire point... 4 stars
11/10/01 Brian I thought this was a great film. Not only was the story great but it was beautifully shot. 5 stars
11/09/01 Martin Brooks The film was excellent, it simply flowed along to the relaxing mood enhancing music. 5 stars
11/02/01 ishwar ramani The camera movements are awesome and the film is very good in bringing out the cynicism 4 stars
10/30/01 Lucy Swan Beautifully shot, wonderfully lit, moodily atmospheric. Blacker than black humour... 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  31-Oct-2001 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Dec-2001




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