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
Billy Bob Thornton jokingly made it look like Ed Crane had an erection in one of the scenes where he's watching Birdy Abundas playing the piano. Only one of the prop guys noticed during production. When the Coen Brothers later found out, they made it clear that Ed would not be aroused in the scene. See more »
When Doris is in jail and is talking to Ed across the table, when the camera is behind Ed's shoulder, smoke is billowing from the cigarette, but when the camera switches to the one behind Doris' shoulder, no smoke is coming from the cigarette. See more »
Yeah, I worked in a barbershop, but I never considered myself a barber. I stumbled into it. Or married into it, more precisely.
See more »
Special thanks to citizens and merchants of Orange, CA and The Bungalow Heaven Neighborhood - City of Pasadena, CA. See more »
Besides being great stuff for film maniacs who like to debate the technical aspects, the cinematography or the artistic ideas and influences in it, 'The Man Who Wasn't There' is also a great film. One of my all-time favorites. The sort of film where the best possible choice of cast plays even the most insignificant walk-on role. The Coens' signature in there: being visually very conscious, especially for their film noir venture, they must have spent a huge amount of time to find the best possible faces for every single shot. Not necessary to waste words on how well they did in their choices for the lead roles. Fortunately these 'faces' they collected can also act, everyone does incredibly well here.
'The Man Who Wasn't There' has a slowly developing story, that at first viewing may require your patience a little bit. But the second and third viewings and so on will be a lot smoother... I have seen the film about five or six times already. There's this weird TV channel that screens it just about every other week and I seem to always happen to be in front of the screen at the time, by mere chance. And I never zap away, I enjoy all the details more and more, and I feel the gloating that's there in the very cold, cruel humor of the film, as well as the saddening feeling it accumulates into, as you continue watching people acting as mere unidentified flying objects in the others' life, just as strongly as the first time.
31 of 43 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?