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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

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A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

,
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Lilyan Chauvin ...
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Storyline

1949, Santa Rosa, California. A laconic, chain-smoking barber with fallen arches tells a story of a man trying to escape a humdrum life. It's a tale of suspected adultery, blackmail, foul play, death, Sacramento city slickers, racial slurs, invented war heroics, shaved legs, a gamine piano player, aliens, and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Ed Crane cuts hair in his in-law's shop; his wife drinks and may be having an affair with her boss, Big Dave, who has $10,000 to invest in a second department store. Ed gets wind of a chance to make money in dry cleaning. Blackmail and investment are his opportunity to be more than a man no one notices. Settle in the chair and listen. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The last thing on his mind is murder.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

16 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Barber Project  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£419,609 (UK) (26 October 2001)

Gross:

$7,494,849 (USA) (22 February 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In his autobiography "The Billy Bob Tapes", Billy Bob Thornton said that he had the flu during the last two weeks of shooting. When the barbershop scenes were shot during that period, Thornton said you may notice in the scenes that his symptoms appear with puffy eyes and he's stuffed up. See more »

Goofs

The train horn heard in the background is a diesel horn (air chime) from contemporary railroads. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad that runs through Santa Rosa would have still been using steam locomotives or early diesels so this should have been a steam whistle or the more melodious air chimes of the parent Southern Pacific Railroad. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ed Crane: Yeah, I worked in a barbershop, but I never considered myself a barber. I stumbled into it. Or married into it, more precisely.
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Crazy Credits

The opening titles cast shadows on the wall as if they are real. See more »

Connections

References Lolita (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No.25 in G major, Op.79
(1809)
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Brilliant Billy Bob Thornton
16 November 2001 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

What a difference a good director makes! Billy Bob Thornton, who was sadly misused in Bandits, gets to recover himself in his brilliant characterization of Ed Crane in this film directed by Joel Coen. His performance is so detailed and subtle that he uses his face to great advantage in the close-ups while the narration goes on in the background. The use of black and white heightens the atmosphere of this 40s-style film noir. The brilliant cinematography is incredible in the use of shadows and dark tones that enhances the story to such an extent. Frances McDormand is incredible in the film as well. And what could one say about James Gandolfini? He gets better and better all the time. The atmosphere of the era is captured even in the small details. It's very refreshing to see the Coen brothers get over their last disaster of "State and Main" with such panache, aided of course by their star, Billy Bob Thornton and the ensemble cast and a great and ironic story.


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