The Man Who Wasn't There Reviews
Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a sad, unsatisfied and chain smoking middle aged man - barber by profession. Married to Doris (Frances McDormand) who is having an affair with her boss Big Dave (James Gandolfini). When a wacky looking Creighton (Jon Polito) walks in for a haircut bragging about an opportunity in dry cleaning business, Ed sees a way out of his stagnated life. When he decides to resort to blackmail, things do not turn out the way he anticipates.
Each actor reserves a different acting style when working with the Coen brothers, they become more eccentric, active and alive. But Thorton's character has lesser facial expressions than Arnie's T2 role. Jon Polito looked like a replacement to their usual choice John Goodman for such roles as he tries to act and talk him. This movie serves more like an experimentation vehicle for Coen Brothers for exploring genres since the script didn't look like it had any potential to be greater than what it turned out to be. Scarlett Johansson plays a small role and oozes sexiness and confidence she is attributed with today.
Not their best but still so fun to watch
The performances in the film are just magnificent, not one member of the cast didn't deliver a good performance, especially Thornton, Gandolfini, McDormand and Shalhoub as the Crane's lawyer. Thornton's performance is outstanding, at no point in the film does he vocally speak his discontent, his classic conservative attitude makes Ed Crane a memorable character to me because he represents the times when men were men, Ed is the the strong silent type.
The film's cinematography is undeniably the greatest feature in this masterpiece, The Man Who Wasn't There really captures the essence of film noir, the film has a distinct sombre tone which is very reminiscent of classic pictures from the 1940's.
UFO's are present throughout the film, whether they actually mean anything is up to interpretation but I found them to be quite intriguing, personally I believe the Coen brothers just threw them in to add some mystery to the movie but nethertheless, in this instance the use of UFO's were welcomed.
Overall, the acting is top class (especially the performances of Thornton and Gandolfini), the cinematography is visually stunning, the plot is simplistic but works well. The Man Who Wasn't there is the best Coen picture I have seen as of yet, easily one of the best films I have seen.
Would I recommend: Absolutely