cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Click for full sized poster

The Man Who Wasn't There

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub
Screenplay by Ethan and Joel Coen
Directed by Joel Coen
website: www.themanwhowasntthere.com

IN SHORT: A fine rush. [Rated R for a scene of violence. 116 minutes]

I'll tell you what we love about the movies made by Ethan and Joel Coen (Joel does the directing and the pair share the script credits). We love their formula. They can start at point A and proceed to an ending at point B, while sidetracking to points Q, R, Z and L before getting back to the main story, usually involving a character whose has been discombobulated. In this case we are stopped in some Anytown, America, sometime in the 1950s. Everybody knows his place: the Butcher, the Banker, the Barber, the housewife and so forth. In this case the Barber is Ed Crane (Billy Bob Thornton) who runs the middle chair in Gunzilli's barbershop.

Ed is, for the most part, pretty darn sure that his lovely wife Doris (Francis McDormand) is doing the nasty with her employer, Mr. Nirdlinger (James Gandolfini). So when a traveling salesman comes through the shop with an offer to make a fortune in the new biz of dry cleaning that sounds just too good to refuse, Billy Bob refuses to refuse it. One blackmail note later, Nirdlinger is confiding to our hero everything but the graphic details of an affair with someone who is "not your wife". From here the surprises come fast and furious.

Characters will commit suicide, be blackmailed, murdered and/or disappeared. Some will go to jail, rightly or wrongly, affairs will be concealed and revealed. And all the while, by keeping his mouth shut, Ed just makes it worse. And we haven't even touched upon UFO sightings, either.

In their current style of filmmaking, the Coens have way too much story to offer with plot strands far too tenuous to hold everything together. The Man Who Wasn't There looks like a kitchen wall after you've tossed boiled spaghetti on it, in the old style of cooking. Some stories stick to the wall. Some fall off. But they're all there for you to pick through. We don't have problems with this; everything just barely holds together and no plot points vanish in the confusion.

But the fact of the matter is that we saw The Man Who Wasn't There just a couple of days after the attack on the World Trade Center and, by the time we were stable enough to write this stuff down, we couldn't piece the thing back together from our notes. We did mark a number down, below, at the time.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Nine Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Man Who Wasn't There, he would have paid . . .

$7.00

If you're a fan of the Coen Brothers previous work (we are) you aren't going to miss with this one. If you're looking for something simple and brain-challenge-free, look elsewhere.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Joel Coen
Click to buy films starring Billy Bob Thornton
Click to buy films starring Frances McDormand
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.