The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)


“He told them to look not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then he said the facts had no meaning.” – Ed Crane

Number of Times Seen – Twice (23 Mar 2002 and 8 Jul 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A small town barber decides to try and blackmail his wife’s boss when things get completely out of hand.

My Take on it – As a fan of The Coen Brother films, I recall seeing this one on a date in the theater not long after it came out.

I wasn’t too enthralled by the film when it came out and never had much inclination to revisit it until now.

The film poses an interesting premise yet fails to work very well in making us care abut the characters or the story.

The pacing of this story is deliberately slow and that also hurts things because it feels as if it is just creeping along instead of moving forward.

This film tries too hard to be clever by the addition of numerous subplots yet that only succeeds in confusing and misdirecting the viewer by making them believe something is happening on a grander scale.

As with most Coen Brother films, they are ale to get a stellar cast here and extract great performances from them even if the story itself constantly moves along in a very awkward way and doesn’t manage to find a way to recover.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that just doesn’t work well enough. The story is paced deliberately slowly and this is ultimately the film’s undoing since it seem to just creep along instead of move forward. The film tries to be clever by adding numerous subplots to the overall plot, but they end up just confusing and misdirecting the viewer into believing that their is something grander happening on a larger scale.  The cast is great and the Coen Brothers know how to extract great performances from their cast even if the story moves along in an awkward way like this one does.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The movie was filmed in color, then printed in black and white by special processing. However, at least one print was released with the first reel in normal color due to an error at the lab. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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