A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Man Who Wasn't There (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, 2001)

Katherine Borowitz in The Man Who Wasn't There
Ed Crane: Billy Bob Thornton
Doris Crane: Frances McDormand
Frank: Michael Badalucco
Big Dave Brewster: James Gandolfini
Ann Nirdlinger Brewster: Katherine Borowitz
Creighton Tolliver: Jon Polito
Freddy Riedenschneider: Tony Shalhoub
Birdy Abundas: Scarlett Johansson
Walter Abundas: Richard Jenkins

Directors: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Production design: Dennis Gassner
Music: Carter Burwell

The Man Who Wasn't There is a bit like a Twilight Zone episode written by James M. Cain. A barber works in a shop owned by his wife's brother. She has been unfaithful to him with her boss, so when a get-rich scheme is proposed to him, the barber tries to blackmail his wife's lover. Nothing goes quite right, however, and after calamity succeeds calamity, the barber is presented with what appears to be a solution to his problems. It comes, however, from a UFO that hovers overhead, and he rejects it. Perhaps only Joel and Ethan Coen could have accomplished this fusion of film noir and sci-fi with quite the success they achieve, thanks largely to a superb cast, the extraordinary black-and-white cinematography of Roger Deakins, and a score by Carter Burwell that blends unobtrusively with some melancholy-meditative excerpts from Beethoven's piano sonatas.

Watched on Starz Encore 

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