Movie: "The Man Who Wasn't There"
Directed by: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Writing credits: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Plot: A barber gets into trouble than he can handle when he blackmails his wife's lover.
Review: I don't know what it is about Billy Bob Thornton's voice, but I love hearing the guy narrate a movie, and The Man Who Wasn't There is the cream of the crop when it comes to 'em. It's a black & white neo-oir film by the Coen brothers and for some reason, it seems to be their most unappreciated one. Maybe it wasn't promoted well... and the fact that it was out of print for a while didn't help it get the recognition it deserves either.
So the film stars Billy Bob Thornton as Ed Crane, a barber in a small town set in 1949. While he's wordy in his narration, his character is extremely terse in reality... often to the point where most people would suspect he's devoid of any emotion whatsoever. And it's because of this that hearing what's really going on in his head via narration that the movie is so completely engrossing.
The story revolves around Ed's life - in particular his wife's infidelities with her boss whom Ed blackmails to raise money for a dry cleaning business investment. He may be a seemingly simple man, but his life quickly gets as complicated as you could imagine.
It's a fantastically dark drama which takes a look at how many lives are deeply affected by a few bad choices. In addition to Billy Bob Thorton's cold performance, The Man Who Wasn't There has one hell of a good cast. Frances McDormand (whom we all remember from "Fargo"), James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Badalucco, Scarlett Johansson, Richard Jenkins and more are all perfectly cast in the film.
If you're a fan of the Coen brothers, this is simply one film you've gotta see because it really is a masterpiece. Just don't expect it to be the feel-good movie of the year. Sure, it has humor, but it's of the darkest variety and the story itself is about as bleak as they come. And honestly, you wouldn't want it any other way.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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