The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001) Poster

A laconic, chain-smoking barber blackmails his wife's boss and lover for money to invest in dry cleaning, but his plan goes terribly wrong.



  • Billy Bob Thornton at an event for The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  • Scarlett Johansson in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  • Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  • Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  • Ethan Coen and Joel Coen in The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)
  • Billy Bob Thornton at an event for The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

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Did You Know?


Though the movie's title and black and white format conjures up Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), the setting of this film in quiet Santa Rosa California, and the pubescent character Birdy Abundas seem to have been inspired by Hitchcock's other film Shadow of a Doubt (1943).


Ed Crane: Yeah, I worked in a barbershop, but I never considered myself a barber. I stumbled into it. Or married into it, more precisely.


When Riedenschneider is talking to Ed in the jail after receiving information from the private detective: "You can't know the reality of what happened, or what would have happened if you hadn't stuck in your own Goddamn schnoz. So, there is no 'what happened.' Looking at something changes it. They call it The Uncertainty Principle. Sure it sounds screwy, but even Einstein says the guy is on to something." However, Albert Einstein never accepted Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle as a fundamental physical law, stating: "Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the 'old one'. I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God)does not throw dice." [Quantum Mechanics is based on laws of probability ... hence the reference to dice.]

Crazy Credits

The opening titles cast shadows on the wall as if they are real.


Plot Summary


Crime | Drama


Release Date:

16 November 2001


English, Italian, French

Country of Origin


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£419,609 (UK) (28 October 2001)


$7,494,849 (USA) (24 February 2002)

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