The Man Who Wasn't There
The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

In the summer of 1949, a tale of passion, crime and punishment... Ed Crane is a barber in a small northern California town. Ed is dissatisfied with his life, but his wife Doris' infidelity presents Ed with an opportunity for blackmail… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: October 31, 2001
DVD Release Date: April 16, 2002
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Critic Score: 81% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Stylish but emotionally distant, The Man Who Wasn't There is a clever tribute to the film noir genre.

Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine

Affectlessness is not a quality much prized in movie protagonists, but Billy Bob Thornton, that splendid actor, does it perfectly as Ed Crane.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

In this the Coens' sly script is helped no end by Billy Bob Thornton's supremely eloquent performance as the taciturn tonsor, lent terrific support from Frances McDormand as the wife.

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Fernanda Solórzano
Letras Libres

Much less acidic than Fargo, not as graceful as The Big Lebowsky, and barely enigmatic as Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn't There is, isn't far from being the best film of the [Coen Brothers]. [Full review in Spanish]

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Todd McCarthy

The film holds the interest, to be sure, but more due to the sure sense of craft and precise effect that one expects from the Coens than from genuine involvement in the story.

Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle

Despite the movie's humor and sense of irony, it takes on a sense of somberness as it progresses.

S. James Wegg

Just the barber

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

Joel and Ethan Coen stay true to their bent for dense heroes and neonoir, and to their unshakable conviction that life usually turns out to be splendidly horrific.

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Steven Mikulan
L.A. Weekly

The Coens have resurrected a hardscrabble California of wooden porches and gravel driveways, of rolling, oak-wreathed hills and one-lane roads, and of a restless people whose meager dreams are wrecked the moment money, sex or a bottle get in the way.

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Michael Nordine
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Ed's problem isn't so much that he isn't there but that, when you finally catch a glimpse of him, there's no way to be sure exactly what has caught your gaze.

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More reviews for The Man Who Wasn't There

Flixster Audience Score: 84% Flixster User Reviews
Kevin M. Williams
One of the best commentaries I've seen on the murky condition of what can be deemed as modern man, Thornton (a revelation) plays a guy who is so removed… More
Coxxie Mild Sauce
Definitely the Coens' greatest achievement. right after Blood Simple, Millers Crossing, Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men, the Big Lebowski, Fargo… More
Chris Weber
The Coens capture the look and feel of not only film noir, but that era (late 1940s) as a whole, perfectly with this film. Billy Bob Thornton is great as the… More
Kase Vollebregt
The Coen brothers stylish noir looks as cool as it gets, but is it entertaining enough? No. No thrills, not too much suspense, but hell, no wonder Roger Deakens… More
Graham Jones
A beautiful minor key film. The inclusion of some of Beethoven's most beautiful sonatas into this noir really works. Thornton and McDormand are fantastic… More
danny d
very well written and expertly crafted, the film lacks substance, a surprise for a coen film, but the cinematography was excellent and the narration alone was… More