The Man Who Wasn't There

  • 115'
  • USA
  • 2001
Ed Crane is a taciturn and colourless barber. He is married to Doris, a bright bookkeeper. They are not happily married. Doris cheats on Ed with her super smooth boss, Big Dave. One day the barber's shop receives a visit from a stranger, a con man. This stranger persuades Ed to invest ten thousand dollar in a dubious enterprise. Of course Ed doesn't have ten thousand dollar on hand, but he thinks up a way to get the money and to teach Big Dave a lesson. That lesson turns out to have several very unpleasant consequences.The latest Coen film is inspired by James Cain, whose story was at the heart of the best classic noir films, such as Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. At first sight, the film has all the characteristics of a film noir: moody black & white filming, a cynical voiceover and a story about the desperate deed of a man without a future. What Joel and Ethan Coen however wanted to make is an 'antinoir'. Protagonist Ed is the classic loser, but his wife is far from being a stunning femme fatale. She's an ordinary woman who shaves her legs and plays bingo. And Ed is not obsessed by Doris. Ed doesn't have any obsessions at all.Francis McDormand convincingly acts the banal Doris, but the restrained mystery of Billy Bob Thornton's Ed is absolutely stunning.
Joel Coen
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Focus Features, Ethan Coen
Focus Features
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Billy Bob Thornton
Local Distributor
Paradiso Filmed Entertainment (oud)