The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

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The Man Who Wasn’t There: Directed by Joel Coen. With Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini. 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.

“The 2002 Cohen brothers film is a delight. u0026quot;The Man Who Wasnu0026#39;t Thereu0026quot; combines everything I like in the Coen brotheru0026#39;s unique way of telling a story. From the comic of the situation witnessed in the famous u0026quot;O Brother Where Art Thoughu0026quot; (2000) to the originality of the scenario seen in u0026quot;Barton Finku0026quot; (1991), not to mention the singularity of the characters and their lack of control over the situation in the excellent u0026quot;Fargou0026quot; (1996), all those u0026quot;hintsu0026quot; have been gathered to built this well thought story. Joel and Ethan directed and wrote this picture about a bored and boring chain-smoking barber admirably played by Billy Bob Thornton (best role for this under-rated actor)who blackmails his wifeu0026#39;s boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning. As you sense the plan goes terribly wrong. I believe this story is a pretext to show us how little is our grip on the reality of our lives. And to demonstrate how justice easily becomes a comico-pathetic masquarade when given by men. On the contrary true Justice eventually lies in the wrinkles of menu0026#39;s destiny. As a conclusion you are better off expecting a landing of an alien spaceship than a fair and clear trial in a court of law. Whether we agree or not to this demonstration, it does not take away the pleasure of watching these terrific actors putting into play the original and dark scenario of the two brothers. Billy Bob Thornton is a master portraying to perfection Ed Crane (the laconic barber). Since Dead Man (1995) I donu0026#39;t recall a lot of movies where directors have capitalized on his enormous talent. Frances McDormand (Doris Crane) is as usual fantastic. We remember her in Wonder Boys (2000) and of course as the sheriff in Fargo (1996). Here she plays wonderfully the barberu0026#39;s wife going from bitterness to sorrow. Some characters can be seen as u0026quot;clicheu0026quot; like Freddy Riedenschneider the lawyer played by the good Tony Shalhoub, however they are all enjoyable to watch: James Gandolfini is terrific as u0026quot;Big Daveu0026quot; and Jon Polito very colorful as Creighton Tolliver, not to forget the very talkative and sincere Michael Badalucco as Franck Raffo or the great job done by Scarlett Johansson in the role of Rachael u0026#39;Birdyu0026#39; Abundas the not very straight and quiet adolescent you would expect. The Black and White picture is more an artistic exploration from the Coen brothers and I donu0026#39;t think has anything to do with the chosen period (late 40u0026#39;s). However the black and white picture is very well shot by Roger Deakins and impose tremendously well Billy Bob Thorntonu0026#39;s character and therefore never becomes a burden for the audience. u0026quot;The Man Who Wasnu0026#39;t Thereu0026quot; does not belong to any genre in particular. The Movie is made of a myriads of genres and characters that the Coen brothers have managed to master throughout their career of story tellers. The movie is a u0026quot;film Noiru0026quot; but not only, it is a dark comedy but not only, it is a light thriller but not only, it is shot in black and white but still have colorful characters, it tells a simple story of a laconic barber but there is more to it, eventually Justice will prevail but not the way we think it will. In the end it is a unique movie and in times where everything seems to look the same this movie becomes a true jewel.”

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