Continuing my countdown of every Coen Brothers movie…
#12. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
(up three spots from previous ranking)
This is the Coen Brothers movie I was most looking forward to revisiting, because I’m pretty sure I’d seen it only once before. As with all Coen movies, additional viewings are required, and this one shot way up in my estimation the second(?) time around.
This might be the brothers’ most beautiful film, with Roger Deakins’ creamy black-and-white photography making every shot worthy of framing. It’s also one of their most tonally consistent, never dropping the poker face of its noir classicism.
Today’s randomly selected Song of the Day comes from what has to be the unlikeliest hit soundtrack album in history.
The Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother Where Are Thou? was set in the Depression-era Deep South and billed as a loose adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. It was even nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, despite the fact that both brothers admit to never having read the Odyssey.
When I talk about the use of music in movies, I throw around a lot of names (Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese are the most common) but I often forget to include the Coen Brothers. And that’s a major oversight, because these guys have done great things with music in all their films.
Start with the original scores, all penned by the wonderful Carter Burwell. From the banjo-and-yodel version of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ in Raising Arizona to the pounding bass drums of Fargo‘s Nordic-inspired title song; from Barton Fink‘s edgy violins to that gorgeous and melancholy Miller’s Crossing theme.