The Man Who Wasn't There

Synopsis: The Man Who Wasn't There is a 2001 British-American neo-noir crime film written, produced and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Billy Bob Thornton stars in the title role. Also featured are Tony Shalhoub, Scarlett Johansson, James Gandolfini, and Coen regulars Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, Richard Jenkins and Jon Polito. Joel Coen won the Best Director Award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen's brother and co-director of the film, did not receive the Best Director Award as he was not credited as a director.
Genre: Crime, Drama
Production: USA Films
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 41 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

ED (V.O.)

Yeah, I worked in a barbershop. But

I never considered myself a barber...

We track back from a barber's pole.

ED (V.O.)

...I stumbled into it--well, married

into it more precisely...

We track back from a shopkeeper's bell triggered by an opening

door. The pull back and tilt down show the top of the head

of a customer entering in slow motion.

ED (V.O.)

...I wasn't my establishment. Like

the fella says, I only work here...

We track along a shelf backed by a mirror and holding pomade,

aftershave, hair tonic, a whisk brush.

ED (V.O.)

...The dump was 200 feet square,

with five chairs, or stations as we

call 'em, even though there were

only two of us working...

We track in on a big man in a barber's smock scissoring across

a lock of hair that he pulls taut between two fingers of one

hand. In slow motion, he laughs and chats.

ED (V.O.)

...Frank Raffo, my brother-in-law,

was the principal barber. And man,

could he talk...

Another man in a barber's smock is running electric clippers

across a child's head. A cigarette between his lips.

ED (V.O.)

...Now maybe if you're eleven or

twelve years old, Frank's got an

interesting point of view, but

sometimes it got on my nerves. Not

that I'd complain, mind you. Like I

said, he was the principal barber.

Frank's father August--they called

him Guzzi--had worked the heads up

in Santa Rosa for thirty-five years

until his ticker stopped in the middle

of a Junior Flat Top. He left the

shop to Frankie free and clear. And

that seemed to satisfy all of Frank's

cutting the hair and

chewing the fat. Me, I don't talk


He plucks the cigarette from his mouth and taps its ash into

a tray.

ED (V.O.)

...I just cut the hair...


The barbershop is empty of customers. Late sun slants in

through the front window. The two barbers--the narrator and

his brother-in-law--sit in two of the barber chairs, idly

reading magazines.


Says here that the Russians exploded

n A-bomb and there's not a damn thing

we can do about it.




How d'ya like them apples?







Russians exploded an A-bomb.




(shaking his head)


ED (V.O.)

Now, being a barber is a lot like

being a barman or a soda-jerk; there's

not much to it once you've learned

the basic moves. For the kids there's

the Butch, or the Heinie...

We cut to examples of the haircuts as they are ticked off:

ED (V.O.)

...the Flat Top, the Ivy, the Crew,

the Vanguard, the Junior Contour

and, occasionally, the Executive

Contour. Adults get variations on

the same, along with the Duck Butt,

the Timberline...

Ed trims the fringe around a balding head.

ED (V.O.)

...and something we call the Alpine

Rope Toss.

He snips one long lonely strand of hair and carefully drapes

it across a bald pate.

ED (V.O.)

...I lived in a little bungalow on

Napa Street. The place was OK, I

guess; it had an electric ice box,

gas hearth, and a garbage grinder

build into the sink. You might say I

had it made.

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Joel Coen

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for No Country for Old Men (2007), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child. more…

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Submitted by aviv on February 07, 2017

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