• The Man Who Wasn't There

    2001. USA. Joel Coen. 116 min.

Sunday, August 17, 2008, 4:30 p.m.

Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2

  • The Man Who Wasn't There

    2001. USA. Directed by Joel Coen. Screenplay by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen. Music by Carter Burwell. Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Editing by Roderick Jaynes, Tricia Cooke. Casting by Ellen Chenoweth. Production design by Dennis Gassner. Costume design by Mary Zophres. Supervising sound editing by Skip Lievsay. With Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini, Jon Polito. The Coen brothers' black-and-white film noir homage has a familiar set-up: a blackmailer, a cheating wife, a loathsome big shot, and a scheme gone awry. But the narrative similarities do not indicate a remake of their previous films. Although differing from the Dashiell Hammett–inspired Blood Simple, whose fantastical elements were overshadowed by its gritty realism, and the Raymond Chandleresque The Big Lebowski, whose irreverence and absurdities diluted its noir intentions, The Man Who Wasn't There, seemingly influenced by James M. Cain, also upends genre expectations—an ordinary man thrust into extraordinary circumstances goes beyond his capabilities to resolve injustice—as the title character instead chooses to be an observer in his own story. 116 min.

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