The Man Who Wasn't There
Billy Bob Thornton stars as a wormy, soft-spoken barber whose wife (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with her boss (James Gandolfini, in full brooding bully mode). Rendered in satiny black and white, virtually every image in The Man Who Wasn’t There has a stately composed dreaminess. The exception is Thornton’s face, which pierces the film with its incongruous, taunting challenge of dismay. The Coen brothers, taking off from the work of James M. Cain and other hard-boiled fictions, craft a plot that’s a sleazy morass of chicanery, blackmail, and murder.