HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
   
 
  Man Who Wasn't There, The Anything For A Quiet Life
Year: 2001
Director: Joel Coen
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub, Katherine Borowitz, Jon Polito, Scarlett Johansson, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Kriesa, Brian Haley, Christopher McDonald
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) is a nobody in the 1940s: a taciturn barber who everyone takes for granted. He sees a chance to break out of his ordinary existence when a salesman customer offers him a partnership in a dry cleaning business: all he has to do is come up with the money. As Crane's wife is having an affair with his best friend, he sees the opportunity for blackmail, but he has set himself on the road to his ultimate downfall...

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen wrote this muted, black and white and grey story of a man who takes a wrong turn in life and lives to regret it. On the surface, the film is an homage from the cinema-literate Coens to those classic film noirs of the 1940s and 50s, but it has an off-kilter outlook which goes against such simple pigeonholing, resulting in something more than a straight tribute.

Crane's scheming wife (Frances McDormand), who traditionally should be the femme fatale here, ends up a tragic victim; the "good girl", the woman who should bring the protagonist a shot at redemption, turns out to be trashy and mediocre. In fact, most of the characters are presented in an almost cartoonish way, whether they are fast-talking lawyers or flamboyant piano teachers, yet the mordant humour doesn't let them become too over the top.

Only the laconic Crane remains an oasis of subdued calm at the centre of the story, dryly musing on how he sowed the seeds of his own doom, and how the increasingly gloomy events panned out - Thornton hits just the right note. The sombre, slow-moving mood gives the impression of throwing a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples on the surface of the water.

To use another analogy, the whole affair is also like peeling the layers of skin from an onion: we see how blackmail leads to murder, how murder leads to injustice, and so forth, but the truth is always nebulous. A confession of murder is disbelieved, the victim's wife is convinced that her husband's death was to slience him about their abduction by space aliens, and nothing is as it seems at the start. Each revelation complicates the story.

What is it that has led Crane down this path? Is it simple greed? Or did he think he deserved a better life? How could he be so stupid as to fall for a con like that in the first place? It's as if stepping outside his humdrum world has brought the wrath of fate down upon him. Unfortunately, the shifting nature of the narrative, coupled with the deliberate pace and Thornton's monotonal voiceover, may send you to sleep. Also with: possibly the most smoking of any movie ever. Wonderful photography by Roger Deakins, and music by Carter Burwell (with some Beethoven thrown in for good measure).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 5008 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: