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The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

Billy Bob Thornton , Frances McDormand , Ethan Coen , Joel Coen  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Katherine Borowitz
  • Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
  • Producers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Eric Fellner, John Cameron
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: USA Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 16, 2002
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JKMG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Man Who Wasn't There" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making "The Man Who Wasn't There"
  • Interview With Cinematographer Roger Deakins
  • Deleted Scenes/ Deleted Shots
  • Photo Gallery

Editorial Reviews

2001 - The Man Who Wasn't There - DVD Video - Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, Richard Jenkins, Scarlett Johansson, Jon Polito, Tony Shaloub, James Gandolfini - Director: Joel Coen - Written by Joel & Ethan Coen - A Coen Brothers Film - Special Features - Dolby Digital 5.1 - Rated R - Collectible

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from the Coen Brothers May 23, 2002
Here's a film that falls into the category of "classic noir," all but perfectly presented by the Brothers who are, in many ways, reinventing the movie. With stunning black-and-white cinematography and splendid performances by Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand (who, arguably, is one of the best actresses anywhere), the voiceover narrative of the unsmiling "hero" of the piece recounts the events leading up to his demise.
There is so much to like about this film: its faithful adherence to the exploration of small lives that become enlarged as a result of haphazard circumstance; its beautifully moody lighting and crisp images--where shadow has as much significance as light; and an overall evenness of tone that never for a moment hits a sour note.
Thornton, as the never-smiling barber with an acceptable life that is bereft of humor, of love, and of any viable friendship, gives a remarkably controlled performance that is perfectly matched by McDormand's barely contained appetite for love, for humor, for life, for something beyond the inertia of her marriage (to Thornton.) This is a film in which what goes unstated has as much power as what is; it also has what used to be referred to as a "sting in the tail" at the end.
Nothing can be anticipated in this film; the brothers exercise such great control over the material that even when the viewer thinks s/he knows what's coming, the surprise is there in the ironic ending.
A fine example of top-rate film-making, not to be missed.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Previous reviewer is a Jackass. November 18, 2002
By A Customer
I am typically too lazy to write, however the previous reviewer stirred me enough to demand a response. If you're interested in fast moving color films with stereotyped performances whose sole purpose is entertainment, then stick with Spielberg. I find it amazing that someone with such a poor understanding of film dares comment on it.
If you have an interest in film as an expressive medium and as a reflection of an individual's (or brothers') creative aspirations, you will perhaps at least appreciate the film. Furthermore, the cinematography is absolutely phenomenal, among the best I have ever seen (I dare rank it along side 'Last Year At Marienbad' in this respect).
This is the best Coen Bros. and among the best releases in the past several years.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barberic issues.. January 13, 2004
I normally wind up with mixed emotions when it comes to films from the Coen brothers but I think they've got all their tricks in line with this one.
Those in the know with classic literature will easily notice that the "Man who wasn't..." is based on Camus' famed book "The stranger". The equations between this great book and the film are well balanced: the book is provoking and so is the film.

The plot is about a barber working in a small town. His life has all the tell-tale signs of a "nobody-special" man like him: his job isnt taking him anywhere, his marriage is a flat and boring non-relationship, his wife is double-timing him with one of his "friends", and he himself, well he doesn't seem to bother much about all that, or actually he doesn't seem to care about anything.
Life drags dully on, until the arrival of someone who tells the barber of his plan to hit the market with a new revolutionary business plan: dry cleaning. The whole scheme sounds attractive and has money-making potential written all over it but the missing element is the capital. The barber's mind goes on an interesting vortex of planning. He blackmails his well-off friend who has the affair with his wife for a nice bulky sum. That seems to work, the money is given, and then given on to the dry-cleaning guy and then, well, perhaps predictably, the wheels of the wagon start coming off in disturbing and untimely manner.
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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Undeniably compelling March 6, 2002
By A Customer
After the crowd-pleasing knockabout comedy of the 30s-set "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" - a cheery, New Deal proposition which played out like "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang" under the direction of the Keystone Kops - the new Coen brothers movie adopts the grimly fatalistic tone of a 50s noir thriller, its brooding shadows cast by both the Second World War and the resulting paranoias. If "O Brother" was the "before" photo of an America singing its way out of a Depression, then "The Man Who Wasn't There" is the snapshot labelled "after". It's cold and dark, and is certain to put off as many visitors to the Coens' world as "O Brother" attracted.
Thornton, his nicotine-stained voiceover containing enough tar to merit a Government health warning, is Ed Crane, a small-town barber forever sweeping up after those around him. The most passive of active smokers, Crane barely moves for himself until the one false move he makes to kill off his wife's lover and set off a chain of events leading to his own demise; it doesn't come as too much of a surprise when this hero goes out not in a hail of bullets, but sitting down to die.
One of the great joys of a Coen movie is that they cast, right down to the minor roles, people who can act to the extent that it's a pleasure to spend every moment of a longish film in the same room as them. (Even in the non-speaking roles, the brothers cast fascinating faces.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent! as with everything made by the Cohen brothers.
Published 25 days ago by Eduardo Blanco
5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad not so many people know this movie
Impecable movie. Too bad not so many people know this movie. Definitely one of the Coen's best.
Published 1 month ago by Janusz Budziszewski Miró
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Pretty entertaining movie with good actors.
Published 1 month ago by Malachi Whittemore
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cast.
This is a Coen Brothers classic. Great cast.....Billy Bob rules....!....simple but intriguing story line, and clean film making. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael J. Benda
4.0 out of 5 stars this book was fun to read
Entertaining and rambling, this book was fun to read. Thornton is perceptive and intriguing, and a wonderful actor. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bud Bartleby
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
One of my favorite Cohen Bros. movies. Intriguing plot, superb cast and the filming in black&white is the frosting!
Published 1 month ago by D'Arlis Noel
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome movie!
Published 1 month ago by industriouswoman
5.0 out of 5 stars Another BB classic!
Published 2 months ago by Mark Osterman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Billy Bob Thornton plays a great part in this movie. This could have been written by Alfred Hitchcock. Bill
Published 2 months ago by William F.Brady
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice
it was like a vintage movie, with a great story, you don't expect most of events, and it trap you from beginning to end.
Published 4 months ago by Gerardo Rodriguez
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