"The Man Who Wasn't There" Is Released

The Man Who Wasn't There is a 2001 neo-noir film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Billy Bob Thornton stars in the title role. Also featured are James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub, Scarlett Johansson, and Coen regulars Frances McDormand, Michael Badalucco, and Jon Polito.

The Coen brothers' latest confection, a black and white late-40's film noir, is at once somber and uproarious. Billy Bob Thornton plays Ed Crane, a barber who drifts through his life in a state of forlorn bemusement. An ill-starred attempt to blackmail his wife's lover leads to a series of ruinous calamities. Mr. Thornton's face, as shot by the brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakins, contains depths of mystery and feeling that the Coens' sly, hectic style can only gesture toward. The supporting cast, many of whom are, like Mr. Deakins, part of the Coens' stock company, is as terrific as Mr. Thornton, who gives what may be his best performance to date. – A. O. Scott, The New York Times