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The Man Who Wasn't There
- Billy Bob Thornton

Overview - The Coen brothers' THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE is a brilliantly photographed black-and-white absurdist noir set in Santa Rosa, California, in 1949. Ed Crane (the outstanding Billy Bob Thornton) is a slow-moving, barely talking barber who doesn't seem to want much out of life.  Read more...

 
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More About The Man Who Wasn't There - Billy Bob Thornton
 
 
 
Overview

The Coen brothers' THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE is a brilliantly photographed black-and-white absurdist noir set in Santa Rosa, California, in 1949. Ed Crane (the outstanding Billy Bob Thornton) is a slow-moving, barely talking barber who doesn't seem to want much out of life. He has virtually no relationship with his wife, Doris (Frances McDormand), who has more fun with her boss, Big Dave (James Gandolfini). But when a strange character (Jon Polito) lets it be known that he's looking for a silent partner to finance his dream business (something he calls dry cleaning), Ed sees a possible way out of his doldrums. Just like any good James M. Cain novel (which the Coens cited as a major influence on the story), blackmail, deceit, violence, murder, and double crossing ensue, all with the magic Coen twists and turns. THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE looks simply magnificent; the cinematography, the outfits, and the set designs perfectly capture this intriguing post-WWII paranoid world embodied by misfits, cheats, simpletons, con men, and other ne'er-do-wells. Thornton, who also supplies the wonderfully droll narration, gives a bravura performance as Ed, the everyman who has never strayed from the straight and narrow--until now. Always with a Chesterfield in his mouth, he wanders from scene to scene almost as if he's a spectator--even though he's at the center of everything that goes on. The supporting cast, as usual in a Coen brothers film, is outstanding, including McDormand, Gandolfini, Polito, Tony Shalhoub, Richard Jenkins, and Scarlett Johansson as a young potential piano prodigy.

Awards:
2001 - Cannes - Best Director Winner

Cast List

Carter Burwell - American composer, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Ethan Coen - American producer/screenwriter/director
Scarlett Johansson - Actress, THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, THE BLACK DAHLIA (2006)
Adam Alexi-Malle - Actor; THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (2001)
Billy Bob Thornton - Screenwriter/Actor
Joel Coen - American director/screenwriter/producer
Tony Shalhoub - Actor, MONK
Michael Badalucco - American Actor/"Mac"
Katherine Borowitz - American Actress
Tricia Cooke
Richard Jenkins - American actor
Christopher McDonald - American Actor
James Gandolfini - American actor, THE SOPRANOS
Tim Bevan
Roderick Jaynes - Coen brothers pseudonym: created this fake editor as a prank
Roger Deakins - Director of Photography
Jon Polito - Actor
Frances McDormand - American Actress
Eric Fellner - Producer

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 116
  • Color Format: B&W
  • UPC: 025192249624
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Rating: R (MPAA) (a scene of violence)
  • Release Date: January 2004

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Live-Action
Romance
Killer
Film Noir
Blackmail
Infidelity
Marriage
Historical
Theatrical Release
California
1940s
Couples

 
Movie Reviews

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Reviews:
"...A fully realized, cohesive, and -- the real surprise -- completely 'serious' homage to the Hollywood genre, perhaps the best neo-noir since THE TWO JAKES..." - 09/01/2001 Film Comment, p.75


"...One of [the Coen brothers's] most haunting and rewarding works..." - 11/01/2001 Movieline's Hollywood Life, p.46


"...It's shot in clean, crisp black and white, it's elegant compositions masterfully framed and lit....The Coens are masters of the offbeat and bizarre..." - 11/01/2001 Sight and Sound, p.50-1


"...It's probable that most filmmakers love making movies, but few of them express this love with such voracious, crazy ardor....THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE moves with the stately grace of the Beethoven that decorates the soundtrack..." - 10/31/2001 New York Times, p.E1


"...The remarkable Thornton never hits a false note..." - 10/31/2001 USA Today, p.6D


"...Succulently retro, vintage-Hollywood-goes-bizarro film noir..." - 11/09/2001 Entertainment Weekly, p.79-80


"...So assured and perceptive in it's style, it's like a voluptuous feast..." - 01/20/2002 Chicago Sun-Times, p.6

 
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