The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
The ninth film from Joel and Ethan is a wonderful black and white noir that tells the tale of Ed Crane (Billy Bob-Thornton), a 40’s barber that’s gets bored with his day job and decides to invest in dry cleaning. However, he first decides to blackmail his wife Doris (Frances McDormand) and the man she is cheating on him with, Big Dave Brewster (James Gandolfini) and gain the money he needs from them to make his dry-cleaning investment come to life.
However, as these noir films tend to go, things very rarely go according to plan. So one night Big Dave invites Ed up to his office and questions him about how things are going in his life and Ed passively accepts things as Ed does a lot in this movie and Big Dave loses his temper and attacks Ed. Ed kills Big Dave in defense and wakes up the next morning to his wife Doris having been arrested. Ed doesn’t think much about it and hires the best lawyer around Freddy Riedenschnieder (Tony Shalhoub) who thinks the case is an easy win.
During all of this madness Ed finds solace in going over and shoottin’ the shit with Water Abundas (Richard Jenkins) while he drinks and listens to his Daughter Rachel, (Scarlett Johansson) whom also goes by the name of “Birdy”, play Beethoven on the family piano. Ed thinks Rachel is talented and takes her to see Jacques Carcanogues (Adam Alexi-Malle) an expert in the field whom thinks she is good, but not great.
The Man Who Wasn’t There is easily one of the Coen Brothers best films and if you appreciate film noir then you won’t want to miss this.