*** Official "THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE" Discussion Thread

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "The Man Who Wasn't There". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.
All HTF member film reviews of "The Man Who Wasn't There" should be posted to this thread .
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Crawdaddy
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Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"
[Edited last by Robert Crawford on November 07, 2001 at 12:33 PM]
 

Ross Williams

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Saw it. Loved it. In my opinion the Coen Brothers can do absolutely no wrong. I think there are no better filmmakers working today.
Gorgeous film, with great performances, and of course that beautiful way the Coens unfold every story they tell.
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"You know, there's a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they
don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you." - Silent Bob
"No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Bonzai
Optimus Prime Films
 

Peter M Fitzgerald

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When does the film get wide release? None of the local theaters where I live (in the hinterlands of CT) have it yet; I've started to see reviews for the film (even in my local paper), so I assume it's currently in limited release in some larger cities. All I could find on the web was a general Oct 31 release date, with no mention of a gradual release, starting in big cities. I'm sure it'll turn up here eventually, but when, exactly?
 

Robert Crawford

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Peter,
It goes into full wide release next Friday! What part of the Nutmeg state do you live? Home sweet Home! Besides missing my family and friends I really do miss Connecticut however, I don't miss the high cost of living there.

Crawdaddy
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Peter Staddon: "I didn't say you can put 'Monkeybone' back!"
[Edited last by Robert Crawford on November 09, 2001 at 08:11 PM]
 

Richard Kim

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Just saw it a few hours ago, once again typical Coen Bros. genius. Not as laugh out loud as their previous efforts, but their trademark quirky style is there. I was expecting sordid, hard boiled pulp style material, but instead we get a character study of a man alienated from others, who is unable to improve his place in life and is utterly baffled as to why. You just can't help but sympathize with the guy.
One of the highlights of the film is Billy Bob Thornton's relationship with Scarlett Johansson. His attraction to her could be expalined as nothing more than lust ala American Beauty, but it goes beyond that. In her piano playing he sees it as a way for her to move on to bigger and better things, and he encourages her to go to music school, even though she's not talented enough (similar to how Charles Foster Kane pushed his wife into opera in Citizen Kane). He doesn't want her to fall into the same hell he's trapped in.
 

JohnS

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I think the two of my favorite parts are
1)Crane's car flying through the air.
2)Crane seeing the spaceship.
I also really liked Scarlet Johansson!!(she's my new love!)
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[Edited last by JohnS on November 11, 2001 at 04:53 AM]
 

Peter M Fitzgerald

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Crawdaddy,
Thanks much for the release info! Other than that, I'm trying to know as little as possible about the plot/details of THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, so I'll get the full benefit of seeing the film fresh (as I did previously with O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?). I know of the major cast (but not the characters they play), that it's a 1940s noir-ish period piece, and that it's all (I think) in black & white. That's it. I love the security in knowing that if the Coens made it, it will automatically be a good & entertaining film, though the subjective views of others can certainly differ on this point.
As for my CT location, I live in the Litchfield hills, a bit east of Torrington. Lovely place, though I was actually born & raised in northeast Massachusetts, and spent a good portion of my 33 years in southwestern Virginia (plus some school time in northern Joisey, not far from "Scooterville").
 

GerardoHP

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I'm going to be the voice of dissent here.
I love some Coen Bros. movies and I love practically all film noir.
I thought TMWWT was beautifully cast, performed, designed and photographed.
It has some witty dialogue and funny lines.
And the story is not bad.
And yet, the whole just doesn't work.
TMWWT starts out great but 15 minutes in, it starts to meander endlessly and constantly gets stuck in its own self-indulgence. Watching it is like watching cold molasses drip.
In a word, BORING.
And that s-l-o-w Beethoven melody -- by the time it started playing over the end credits for the nth time I was needing some air.
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Gerardo
 

Rob Willey

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I didn't find it "BORING" but it's in no hurry to get where it's going. I think that's appropriate given whose story is being told and who's telling it.

I had heard this film was shot on color stock and then muted down to black and white, but in many scenes there is color. It's an extremely muted color palette, but it's there. I think Roger Deakins has shown his genius once again.

Not the Coen's best effort, but better than most dreck at the box office these days. Recommended.

Rob
 

Kevin H. Martin

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Interesting that you should mention the inclusion of any color at all. I interviewed Deakins at length for an article that is in the current issue of International Cinematographers Guild magazine (it is probably online at their cameraguild.com site, but I'll respect HTF wishes and not post a URL), and while the film was shot in color, the version I saw at a screening last June (which I thought was supposed to be identical to the version that went out domestically) didn't have any color in it -- tints or otherwise. It might be that the release print stock was changed for economic reasons, and that could have caused accidental color to bleed in, but to the best of my knowledge, such an effect would NOT have been intentional.
I thought all the heisenberg uncertainty stuff in the film was priceless ... I wish the people who make STAR TREK would see this film and abolish the prime directive (which to me has ALWAYS flown in the face of Heisenberg). But Trek seems to like science trappings without using the science in the story, whereas this film used the idea and used it well.
ah, well.
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Mark Palermo

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Concerning color, there have been freak prints of The Man Who Wasn't There. I saw it last Thursday, and the entire first reel was in color! Having gotten in for free, I couldn't quite ask for a refund. Afterwards, some fools in the lobby were trying to analyze the meaning of the black and white vs. the opening color sections.

BTW, I think this is the Coens best film, with the possible exception of Fargo which I'd have to watch again (I'm surprised to like it so much, considering my ambivalence toward O Brother).

The scene that people have said is out of character with the rest of the film is like that for a reason. Notice that it's the only time Ed has a strong reaction, and the act of emoting nearly destroys him.

Mark
 

tyler O

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No color here. I thought the movie was wonderful, but I am rather partial to the Cohen brothers' style. I did not think it dragged, and watched it after viewing Harry Potter, but I enjoyed TMWWT more. Not saying I didn't love Potter, but TMWWT was just better. To me.



I had a question about the end though, to me it seemed that the Cohen's were alluding to the fact that Mr. Thornton had escaped from an institution. This was garnered from the cover of the pulp magazine that was intimated that he was writing for. Am I just reading too much into this or was there something else here?



I loved the cliches of the cigarette in every shot with Mr. Thornton (except the one with a cigar) and too many others to go into. I thought it was pulp noir done perfectly.

Kudos and gratitude again out to the Cohen brothers.
 

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