I've always liked The Man Who Wasn't There, but I never see it mentioned among either the Coens' best or worst films. Is it just too middle-of-the-road?
[Looks both ways]
I kind of like Ladykillers.
It's as if they watched a lot of classic film noir, took all the good stuff they learned and put it in Miller's Crossing and Blood Simple, and then took all the remaining curdled crud and put it in The Man Who Wasn't There. So boring - references to Postman Always Rings Twice and Night of the Hunter do not a good movie make. Maybe I'm being overly harsh, but this was the first Coen Bros movie I genuinely disliked (and still is, though I still have never seen Ladykillers).
I own it, but haven't watched it in years. Obviously, it's not one of my go-to Coen movies. I need to give it another look. I remember it being grim, but not as much as everyone is saying. I do, however, vividly remember that UFO.
I remember respecting the movie more than I enjoyed it. The score hinders my enjoyment of the movie and slows the pacing of the movie down a little too much for my taste.
I didn't realize it was based on The Stranger. I believe I saw the movie before reading that book. Maybe I should revisit it as I remember little other than not really enjoying the movie.
I'll give the movie credit for one thing: It makes smoking look really, really cool.
Personally, I love it. It's kind of an adaptation of Albert Camus' The Stranger, which is one of my favorite novels. It's a pretty absurdist film, and it's amazing how natural it feels for the Coens.
To me, it's a lesser Coens - even lesser than O Brother - but still a pretty good film by any other measure. It's really dark and cynical (as relentless as Inside Llewyn Davis but larger in scale), but not always in ways that I found satisfying, and there were other plot elements that never worked for me. But it's plenty pretty. Because Deakins.
If you like their other works, but you've somehow skipped this one, it's worth a try, but it doesn't remotely stand out amidst their catalogue. I have to stress, it's VERY grim.