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The Man Who Wasn't There
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The Man Who Wasn't There

2001
Drama
Crime
1h 56m
A noirish tale set in 1949, about a dissatisfied barber who hears from a customer about a speculative business venture. The barber, Ed Crane, is prompted to reflect on the direction he wishes his life to take, and on what he might do to change his current direction.
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The Man Who Wasn't There

2001
Drama
Crime
1h 56m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 64.45% from 4258 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(4258)
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Rated 25 Feb 2010
9
93rd
Sometimes I forget how good the Coens really are. The film is easily the most beautiful one they've made, everything just looks great - real eye candy. Thornton is great in the lead, one of his best performances. Actually, probably his best one yet. Love the noir storytelling motif and the ending is great. Recommended.
Rated 30 Sep 2009
79
73rd
Understated, deliberately paced noirish throwback, that slips in the trademark Coen wry humour and dark undertones. The characters are distinct yet subdued, partly as they are drawn by the laconic narrator. The pacing just allows more time to drink in the beautiful B&W imagery, focusing on journey rather than destination. Doesn't provide the thumping impact of other Coen films, but meditatively worthy nonetheless.
Rated 17 Jan 2015
85
95th
great take on how reality is a matter of choice, the alienation some people feel towards their own "existence" and their longing to do something special with their lives in a world that makes hardly any sense to them.
Rated 24 Jan 2009
94
82nd
One of the best of the Coens, this film has equal parts Double Indemnity and Startdust Memories, The Great McGinty and Shadow of a Doubt. Equally philosophical as their previous tale of sumptuous nostalgia, Hudsucker, this is by far Joel and Ethan's darkest of their non-contemporary pieces. Roger Deakin's magical work reconstructing the old Golden Era Hollywood look is amazingly matched by Thorton's portrail of Ed Crane the Barber. Tony Shaloub's performance as Mrs. Crane's lawyer is mind-blowin
Rated 13 Nov 2011
4
70th
A film noir as filtered through the Coen brothers' sensibilities, replete with bizarre black humor, sinister undertones, loads of great character bits, and so on. What starts out as a faithful homage to the style slowly gives way to something more and more absurd. The way Ed Crane's misfortunes keep piling up, t's like a modern-day version of Detour. And holy hell, is Roger Deakins good. In a career of great-looking films, this might be his most beautiful.
Rated 01 Feb 2007
80
61st
Another rock solid movie from the Coens. The Man Who Wasn't There has not only beautiful black and white photography with absolutely perfect use of light, but also well-developed, well-acted characters, and, of course, excellent and clever writing. Still, the movie seems to lack a certain amount of that special flair the Coens' best work always displays, so I can't quite count it among their top ones.
Rated 10 Mar 2022
89
89th
Bone-dry and jet-black. Dishes some incredible imagery and Tony Shaloub has a standout performance. Could have done without the Lolita stuff. The Coens' fascination with quantum mechanics is laid bare here, something you can spot in all their work - not that I know jack about the subject beyond a pop culture understanding. *SPOILERS* Maybe this is captain obvious territory but the vacant protagonist works best if you buy into the twist that he's an alien. "What kind of man are you?"
Rated 14 Aug 2007
80
84th
Billy Bob smoking in black and white for 2 hours. Sweet.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
76
87th
One of the best movies about dry-cleaning.
Rated 10 Sep 2021
80
77th
Here it is, the last Coen brothers movie I've now seen them all and they were all good even their shitty movies are great.
Rated 17 Feb 2019
74
75th
Deakins is so impressive. The scene where Ed goes to meet Dave at the store features some of the most stunning lighting I've ever seen. I really enjoyed Thornton's narration and empty-vessel character here. I think this movie showcases the Coens' nihilist sensibilities better than any other, save perhaps The Big Lebowski.
Rated 31 Jan 2019
75
64th
As a teen, I watched this before I knew who the Coens were. I didn't like it. Coming back, after nearly finishing their filmography, I find that it's a much better film than what was in my memory. Moral of the story? Don't listen to your teenage opinions.
Rated 26 Feb 2007
70
82nd
Excellent film.
Rated 10 Apr 2007
89
88th
A brilliant, subtle, beautifully shot and (of course, since it's the Coens) wickedly funny thriller.
Rated 30 Jan 2008
10
99th
The Coen's best, right after Fargo. Beautiful B&W photography, and a riveting and sometimes insightful story, one that's almost unusual for the Bros.. Thornton is phenomenal.
Rated 27 Jul 2008
60
23rd
Though it's a well crafted film with nice photography and some good acting, I was actually pretty bored by it. It's a shame, really, because I wanted to like it a lot.
Rated 17 Jun 2022
80
72nd
This film felt like an educational video from the 50s
Rated 28 Aug 2008
80
78th
Beautiful film noir by the masters of modern cinema.
Rated 10 Sep 2009
82
30th
The whole movie was a throwback to the old 40's noir films and it was not done in a cheesy way. The twist and turns in the movie were genius and the ending was very satisfying. But the thing I loved the most about the film was Billy Bob Thornton's 'lifeless' performance. With every move he made, every monologue he presented and every cigarettes he smoked, you could just feel that he was a man that just didn't fit in.
Rated 06 Dec 2009
97
96th
OMG! Billy Bob, you are so wise... No wonder Angelina felt in love with you. Well, now seriously, Billy Bob did a really great acting here. One of the best I've ever seen. And the movie is very well constructed. What could I say about all the irony? I just can't find the words. I just loved it! Coen Brothers rullez... Magnificent.
Rated 13 Dec 2009
8
79th
Thornton and the cinematography were impressive.
Rated 25 Dec 2009
80
63rd
It sure is noirish, but to call it a neo-noir would be reductionist. The Man Who Wasn't There has an intriguing, well-developed plot with many layers to it, alongside a truly memorable character in Ed Crane, and some beautiful cinematography to go along. I'll have to revisit it to fully make up my mind about it, but it's a good film to say the least.
Rated 18 Mar 2010
85
84th
As slow and droopy as a beethoven ballad, but just as smooth and well crafted. Coen brothers take another passive, fundamentally unlikable person and turned him into a hero. They again state the way things just happen without an imposed coherence but a natural chaotic coherence and that truth is anything but a static incrementally revealed global state, but more of a soupy mess in your own head made of intra and extra personal stimuli. And Thornton wouldn't lose cool in a ronald mcdonald suit.
Rated 13 Apr 2010
88
92nd
The more I think about it, the more I love it. Ending is fantastic
Rated 17 Apr 2010
64
42nd
And neither was I .... as I had fallen asleep twice watching this movie.Third time was a charm... sort of... as I still just couldn't be won over.Was it the slow drawn out pace,the laconic tones and dark background, who knows.Was trying to work out where the movie was going and just didn't care in the end and found the ending to be ...unfulfilling.Nice performance by the laid back Billy Bob Thornton though.
Rated 11 Jun 2010
90
91st
After reading a bunch of reviews which toted this as a mediocre film I wasn't expecting all that much. However The Man Who Wasn't There is a superb film. While not the Coen's best Thornton provides one of his best performances and the script offers some tremendously clever black comedy. If you're a Coen Brothers fan this is certainly essential viewing.
Rated 30 Aug 2010
70
59th
Stylistically great. It's well crafted with a sublime and violently greyish grading, maybe symbolizing the dullness of Thorntons world. The characters aren't as crazy and far-fetched as in some other Coen-movies, which made it lack specularity and ultimately also my interest; the plot being what it is: slow and for the last 30 minutes, incredible and close to boring. The acting is great though, and the level is so high in so many aspects of the film - even when it gets boring or uninteresting.
Rated 08 Sep 2010
80
83rd
I loved it. It is a familiar Coen-story but it is probably the one that fascinated me the most. The strong B/W images, the music, the development of the story or the great choice of characters Crane has to deal with - everything adds up. But the best part by far is Billy Bob Thornton, as he is the one who creates the athmosphere that makes the movie so terrific.
Rated 15 Sep 2010
70
75th
Not the bros best but a very very good watch. Their mastery over cinema is unbearable at times.. Outstandingly superb characters as always.. Even the smallest parts are all perfect..
Rated 30 Dec 2010
92
94th
Magnificently understated. The character of Ed Crane is such a sad enigma and he works well in driving us through the narrative, but he may be in a different gear to what we think we are in. Mysterious stuff.
Rated 18 Mar 2011
80
77th
A film noir that feels as genuine as if it had been filmed in the 1940s. Gorgeous imagery and a plot that meanders naturally and believably without ever going off the rails. Thornton plays his role like a deadpan comic with nothing funny to say.
Rated 05 Sep 2013
90
85th
Billy Bob Thornton is fantastic in this bizzare noir-esque film. Features a lot of trademark Coen brother moments with some beautiful black and white cinematography. The story itself isn't anything special but the character study of Ed Crane and the ways he tries to change his life is great.
Rated 03 Jan 2007
85
78th
O homem que não estava lá estreava há 20 anos no Festival de Edinburgh. Hoje é dia de revisar filmes que vi no cinema nos anos 2000 e nunca mais revi, é fácil ver porque pouco lembrava desse aqui, embora bom, falta alguma coisa que nos faça lembrar ser um típico Coens. BlurayRip SINNERS.
Rated 01 Feb 2007
77
41st
Great b&w cinematography. But otherwise... I don't know if I felt more confused or disappointed.
Rated 21 Sep 2023
85
92nd
A ponderous movie, the black and white (that i usually have a hard time living with) works wonders thanks to the cinematographer. The rolling wheel cap is just one example of total control over film language
Rated 28 Aug 2013
80
83rd
(Just a barber)
Rated 14 Aug 2007
69
18th
Given the ingredients (the Coens, Billy Bob Thornton, James Gandolfini) it should have been great. Maybe it was and I just didn't get it. There are few Coen Brothers movies that I would "pass" on. This one tops that list.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
79
44th
I love(d) the Coen Bros and this film goes near the bottom of the stack. It's suppose to be a strange piece, but it has Gandolfini! Gimme a break.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
73
94th
Not among the finest of Coen Bros films, this is still a fun homage/dry parody of Film Noir films, re-watchable and contains a lot of their familiar themes with some UFO & nuclear paranoia thrown in the mix. It's bold to build a movie around a lead character who is as passive as this and it wouldn't have worked without an actor like Billy Bob Thornton. While his character doesn't say much, Thornton keeps things interesting with small gestures and expressions. The supporting cast is good as well.
Rated 04 Jun 2015
84
79th
Just an excellent film all round with absolutely spectacular cinematography.
Rated 27 Jun 2018
65
68th
coens' somber and subdued storytelling achieves new heights in this film, but i'm not sure it's for the better. it's an offbeat story, like many coen stories, but the pulse-dead portrayal of thornton somewhat hampers the whole deal. deakan's gorgeous photography and subtle use of beethoven lifts the movie a notch, though. decent, but somewhat forgettable.
Rated 30 Aug 2007
87
89th
Flawless drama with an absolutely brilliant performance by Billy Bob Thronton.
Rated 16 Sep 2007
85
94th
Brilliant film by the Coens
Rated 06 Nov 2007
82
55th
Great film...twist comes from nowhere
Rated 08 Nov 2007
65
69th
A Coens' take on Camus's The Stranger, (i.e., the universe doesn't care, so why should I?) Rich characters and masterful dialogue. Almost good enough to convert me into an existentialist.
Rated 14 Nov 2007
50
9th
The worst Coen Bros. movie by far.
Rated 17 Jan 2015
77
59th
Beautiful cinematography and lighting, and Thornton/Gandolfini make nice additions to the usual Coens contributors. Paced a little slowly, and I felt the out-there stuff didnt gel visually with the rest of the movie, but otherwise it's another darkly funny, somewhat nihilistic genre spin from the Coens, and I'm not complaining.
Rated 29 Apr 2013
90
80th
One of the most depressing films I've ever seen. Noir is meant to be fatalistic, but Ed Crane just gets repeatedly fucked. Basically Billy Bob is the best person to play him. Some of Deakins' best photography.
Rated 26 Feb 2008
100
92nd
sorry, but this is not a romance :) id rather say it is a thriller fiction
Rated 02 Apr 2008
76
49th
Coen brothers always make memorable films. The black and white look of this one is pretty tight.
Rated 04 Apr 2008
60
69th
One of their best.
Rated 22 May 2008
5
81st
Another indelible Coens romp into a confusing noir landscape. If there's any complaint to be lodged against this, it's that the melancholy of Thorton's character is too heavily embraced. Also have a feeling this was better on paper, but there's still a lot to enjoy here; in cast alone.
Rated 15 Apr 2013
28
92nd
If Hitchcock were alive, I imagine he'd waffle between admiration and amusement at the Coens' riff (or is it rib) on the 'wrong man' narrative, taken to its logical and existential extreme.
Rated 11 Sep 2008
92
87th
Stunning cinematography, an impressive Thornton and one of the best modern "noir" movies I've seen in a long long time. What else could be expected by a Coen Movie?
Rated 14 Sep 2008
100
93rd
Another perfect film by the Coens.
Rated 25 Sep 2008
90
87th
Why doesn't this movie get more praise? It's one of the best neo-noir films out there. Billy Bob Thornton is surprisingly pitch perfect in this role. I kept asking myself how come hes not a douche bag
Rated 05 Dec 2008
79
59th
Not everybody's cup of tea, as it relentlessly walks at its own pace, but it sure is enjoyable.
Rated 14 Dec 2008
73
61st
pointless
Rated 20 Oct 2020
2
21st
Rated 17 Mar 2013
85
59th
Perhaps the Coens at their most morose and contemplative. For such a somber tale, it never slows down too much, which is to credit the Coens on how well they can pace their films. With this picture it especially compliments the gorgeous camerawork (I mean, it's Roger Deakins with a black and white period piece, come on now). Thornton, with a cigarette always in his mouth and the same expression always on his face, is perfect.
Rated 20 Jan 2009
80
31st
Sets out to be the most pure film noir of all and succeeds.
Rated 02 Feb 2009
100
96th
I almost think Billy Bob talks too much because of how amazing he portrays Ed Crane when he doesn't have a line. Watch this.
Rated 23 Feb 2009
56
14th
Not too bad for the Coen's.
Rated 26 Mar 2009
78
17th
Not a romance (criticker take note). And not one of the Coen's better efforts, but their fans will probably enjoy it.
Rated 18 Oct 2020
50
35th
Visually impressive, but Thornton's character just isn't compelling. I really wanted to like it because I love Gandolfini, but it just didn't live up to the Coen brothers for me. It has a good enough story and great acting, but it's a bit forgettable.
Rated 18 Aug 2014
54
42nd
noir noir noir blah blah blah
Rated 11 Feb 2013
20
7th
Low budget, low production quality, black and white. This movie is based upon a man who tries to escape his boring life by blackmailing his wife's lover to fund a business opportunity in dry cleaning. When he is attacked by his victim, he kills him, and his wife ends up on trial for the murder. Later he is accused of murdering the business partner who had been killed by the blackmailed man. The plot sounds better than the movie. This should have been much better. Dry, slow and boring.
Rated 26 Jul 2009
62
40th
What it's definitely got in AMAZING cinematography from the great Deakins, it's definitely lacking in story cohesion and structure. Not really one of the Coens' best.
Rated 31 Jul 2009
80
84th
One of the Coen's best looking movies in my opinion.
Rated 06 Mar 2018
90
75th
One of my favorite Coen brothers' film.
Rated 15 Jan 2010
75
71st
A noir film by The Coens. Despite losing time with some nonsense (like the aliens), the script is great, in a story of a tense atmosphere and distressing. The direction is great and the actors are perfect in their roles.
Rated 06 Feb 2010
80
61st
really love film-noir
Rated 10 Mar 2010
4
83rd
Well-crafted film noir homage.
Rated 24 Jul 2020
50
23rd
A lot of talent in front of and behind the camera (including an Oscar nom for Roger Deakins), but the slowest pacing I’ve seen of any Coen film so far. The set up is pretty good, but I kept waiting to be drawn in. The film is also just under two hours, despite feeling at least 45 minutes longer. It’s really good, but not at all enjoyable.
Rated 20 Apr 2010
90
85th
This movie is fantastic. Visually it's probably the best the Coens have ever done. Somehow they managed to capture the 50s noir style without making the movie itself feel old or like one big homage. The movie itself is incredibly modern, and yet it deliberately plays with our expectations regarding old Noirs, and cuts them to pieces. I guess that`s true of all Coen movies, but it visually screams it here. These guys are way smarter than I'll ever be.
Rated 01 Aug 2010
7
78th
A dark, sedate chronologue of a laconic, apathetic man that doubles as a parable, or metaphor for the non-existence of modern man. The Coens masterfully craft, through beautiful B & W imagery, and abstraction, a chaotic world, where there is a loose thread of inevietable coherence. They really delve into the contradictions of the human condition. Probably their third best film behind No Country & Barton Fink.
Rated 18 Aug 2010
80
74th
thornton's narration is fantastic and the noir style is fitting. i definitely believe the coens have done way better, but this isn't a movie to ignore. watch it, just don't expect a masterpiece.
Rated 24 Aug 2010
56
77th
#00s(m)#, story, reviews, dir/writers Coens, casting.
Rated 18 Sep 2010
83
91st
Lovingly, and beautifully, shot in black and white, this film looks superb, and the plot ain't bad either. Thornton manages to convey volumes with the subtlest of expressions.
Rated 24 Sep 2010
69
73rd
Really enjoyable Coen brothers film and will take Thornton in roles like this rather than his silly look how bad I am roles anytime.
Rated 20 Nov 2010
89
84th
Is "Absurd Noir" a genre? Who cares, long live Roger Deakins.
Rated 24 Nov 2010
89
93rd
Best of the Coen brothers here: understated so that the idiosyncracies of script serve the laconic but typical unfolding of the plot rather than adding complexity and pique. Beautifully shot and fantastic leads.
Rated 23 Jul 2020
78
66th
The Coen's work best in mixed genres that leave weird on the table and aren't afraid to go dark. This outing has the look and tone of pure noir (a-la Blood Simple), but it plays things a little too safe to come out as anything more than really pretty. And, boy, is it pretty. Deakins shoots one of his greatest films among a mountain of great work. Thorton is perfect in his somber performance and concludes with even a little gusto that feels earned.
Rated 26 Apr 2024
86
86th
A fantastic watch for noir fans, Coen Brothers fans and Billy Bob Thornton fans (I am very much all of the above).
Rated 12 Jan 2013
80
70th
Really enjoyed this film when I saw it. I hope it hasn't dated since the release of A SERIOUS MAN.
Rated 18 Feb 2011
60
17th
Curiously tedious and unengaging offering from the Coens.
Rated 17 Sep 2011
90
97th
"The Man Who Wasn't There" is one of the Coens' finest films, an atmospheric and touching endeavor that seamlessly combines the brothers' trademark oddball touches with their usual restrained sensitivity. Aesthetically, it's the best thing they've ever done, as Deakins' B&W cinematography is absolutely stunning. Thornton is very good, along with the rest of the cast, which features amusing turns by Polito, Jenkins and Shalhoub in small roles.
Rated 04 Nov 2011
79
67th
Very well done understated crime film. The black and white cinematography is outstanding.
Rated 29 Jul 2022
80
68th
The Coen brothers have directed so many noir pastiches, that it's tempting to view this film under that spotlight, but compared to "Blood Simple" or "Miller's Crossing", it's a bit underwhelming since the crime elements are so downplayed ... or, rather, underplayed. I think that's quite deliberate because unlike those films, this isn't really a noir pastiche, but rather a bit of a character study that just happens to be set in a noir world. It's like "A Serious Man" set in a James M. Cain novel.
Rated 30 Nov 2013
100
97th
Tror dette er den Coen-filmen jeg har likt best, noe som ikke sier rent lite. Thornton passer perfekt i hovedrollen og historien er svært god på å utvikle seg i uventede retninger. I tillegg er filmen helt nydelig å se på.
Rated 29 Jan 2012
23
9th
Yet another terribly boring Coen film - and one of the worst so far. All actors are unconvincing, even poor Scarlett is sucked (sorry...) into the pool of pointlessness.
Rated 19 Feb 2012
60
44th
"The Man Who Wasn't There" is a minor film in the Coens' filmography. Here you won't find the laugh-out-loud craziness of "The Big Lebowski" or the atmosphere of "Miller's Crossing" and "Barton Fink". There is a feeling of urgency in their approach and potential in their interesting script (plus Polito and Shalhoub are great), but nothing big really happens.
Rated 10 Apr 2012
72
55th
B&W used to good effect (though disliked stark electric chair scene), e.g. the ominous meetings between Crane & Dave (especially at Nerdlinger's) + the sunlight through & shadows of the prison bars during revelation of Heisenberg Uncertainy defense. Sadly, things go somewhat downhill starting w/ the superfluous blowjob / crash scene. Crane's blame for Tolliver's death seems contrived as Dave's assault history would surely come out. Also, what's the deal w/ the door-to-door salesman flashback?
Rated 02 May 2012
85
57th
Wonderful film, but only a shadow of the best Coen films.
Rated 29 May 2012
55
43rd
It's more a noir exercise than actually a great narrative effort, but this works mainly because its darkly funny touch. I guess the Coens have never been so, let's say, serious about their comedy dialogues as in this picture. Deakins' cinematography is one of a kind.
Rated 01 Oct 2013
85
83rd
The Coens want to do a noir. They do a noir & they do it well. Okay, they find a man who can light it well, in Deakins. They take care of the script & it's as dark as the genre. A man lost within his time, speechless, overwhelmed, unable to articulate what it is to be him. Others don't stop spinning other stories from legal defences to barber banter. Ed is stuck in his own story, soulless notes on a piano, one worth 5 cents a word & despite being complete, it's only half-said.
Rated 10 Jul 2012
85
86th
Great job at illustrating the relationship between determinism and free will. Thornton was spectacular as was the cinematography.
Rated 24 Jul 2012
65
44th
Coen Kardeşler kabak tadı vermeye başladı bana. Amerikan klişelerine giydirmeye çalışırken kendi klişelerini yarattılar. hep aynı donuk-yüzeysel geçiştirilmiş-içi boş karakterler, sözüm ona izleyiciyi ters köşeye yatırmayı amaçlayan saçmasapan gelişmeler falan. böyle koftiden "kara film" sıçıcaz diye ıkınmasınlar gari. (The Big Lebowski'nin hastasıyız, oayyrı.)
Rated 30 Jul 2012
85
67th
I must admit it does drag on a wee bit (an issue I don't ever find with a Coens film) but on the other hand it includes some of the best modern usage of black and white and with a beautiful classical score which plays somberly in the background throughout. This is a very interesting neo noir entry from two very skilled filmmakers with a brilliantly ironic protagonist.
Rated 04 Aug 2012
78
79th
berber, karsindan süphenen adam, isinden memnun olmayan adam, dolandirici, kuru temizleme isi, yeni is kurmak isteyen adam, santaj (karisinin isverenine), cinayet, mahkeme, yanlis kisinin suclanmasi, karmasik olaylar (Fargo benzeri), talihsiz adam (detour), trafik kazasi, piyono ögretmeni, suyun altindaki ceset, idam, elektrikli sandalye

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