While stuck insidei because hurricane & the rivers all in flood and etcetera I had a very pleasurable time watching The Man Who Wasn't Thereii with my whores. As I said, my ring finger rested comfortably either side atop that delicious fold separating thigh from Venus mound, my thumb biting softly into delicious girly flesh, "the best way to watch this is with my hands on my hips". Because they are, what! Once the credits started rolling I had them line up, elbows rested bedside, and I played with their tits and their necks and shoulders and paddled the butt alley to my heart's content and their sighful communioniii. It was a soft, pensive, existentially artistic occurrence seamlessly integrating a coupla hoursiv of cinematic projection inside its lusciously generous vagina, like sky flowersv stretched out by your thumb welcome the challenge it presents. They can take it, therefore they do take it ; and it makes your thumb pretty and their elstic capacity for tolerance, the one true fundament of feminity, even more glisteningly resplendent. I offer all this context because it is ultimately possible it might color my appreciation of the movie, and for no other reason (and at great personal risk, I might add, seeing how every prostitute out there is attempting the same tack in their inexcusably terrible contributions mailed out to the Atlantic or whatever other deadbeat ex-venue).
You might be aware how children, aged maybe thirteen or so, seventh grade, occasionally engage (generally as a result of adult instigation, but we'll let this pass in silence) in whatever organized, specific, defined activity, like perhaps skateboarding or playing some sport or whatever it is. Some do better and some do worse, occasionally one will do exceptionally well or shockingly poorly but they all, and irrespective of any personal considerations or aspirations to individualism (truthfully speaking more projected by adult hopes and expectations than properly merited by the circumstances) are indistinctly and undistinguisably united by the same one, unbroken, insectablevi thread : they'll do better or worse for seventh graders, exceptionally well for a seventh grader, terribly for a seventh grader. It's what it is. The same kids, a short few years later, or the same kids, spit out of the all-loving hole a few years earlier, will also do well or not so well or remarkably well or utterly terribly at the same thing, but this time for an eleventh grader. Yet occasionally, rarely but nevertheless, a seventh grader will do as well as to be able to stand among the eleventh graders, a recognized, welcomed peer on the strength of the only true merit there is : personal excellence. It is a different kind of performance, the thirteen year old who plays so well seventeen year olds want her on their team isn't playing well or very well or incredibly well for a thirteen year old, not anymore. This is precisely the situation of The Man Who Wasn't There : it's one of the precious few US productions that can stand (and on its own merits duly does stand) among the notable works of Italian neorealism in purely technical terms : it is good enough to.
While shot in black-and-white, and therefore readily opening the reviewer to suspicion of having brought his own fleshy pink tones from home to provide color to his liking, self-pleasing himself like a cat self-pets itself, it is perhaps the foremost example of well done principal photographyvii in our colonies, a wonder to rival La Grande Belezza and other such standard-setting accomplishments of the old country. The lighting is beyond superb, the set placementsviii and framingsix utterly poetic, if I could shoot like this I'd want no more (and meanwhile would accept no less).
Then, of course, the bit parts. Never have you seen such concentration, such abundance of minors doing the best work of their career, by so very far the best it makes it unassailably, plainly self-obvious why exactly the author of cinematic production is the director, not the "stars". To take only one example : Scarlett Johansson, as much a prop as any starlet ever was, as much an actual actress as any prop ever was. Here she comes to life for the first (and rather, last) time in her regrettable waste of an acting careerx. Take just another example : B. B. Thornton never did anything half as good, a quarter as good. Never, he's been in what, fifty trainwrecks to date, this is his first ballet. I love him in here, and if you manage not to your shrink will no doubt be interested to hear what absurd derangements overpower that brainbox of yours. Even Lilyan Chauvin, for crying out loud, of whom I'm sure you've not even heard mention before, even she's fabulously excellent in a few dozen well used (because well constructed) frames! Zsa Zsa Gabor spent her entire life trying to somehow fall ass-first into Chauvin's half a minute here, and never managed! Like her, how many! Countless, endless many trees growing from a seed into a sappling into adulthood, ripe, and then putrescent, falling over in a distant forest, secret, unheard. It's unspeakable, it's magic, it's something the fuck else.
I do not think this film is optional. I deem it mandatory ; if I ever teach cinema it'll be on the eliminatory list -- you've not seen it, you're dismissed. So do yourself the favour and don't wait for well fleshed, sugar hips to rest your hands on while you watch what is doubtless the best shot, and perhapsxi the best all-around film America ever produced.———
- I don't know how you folk managed a whole year. I've been stuck for like two days and it's already pissing me off. [↩]
- 2001, by Joel & Ethan Coen, with Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini, Jon Polito, Scarlett Johansson. [↩]
- The beaten slave's experience of her own beating is a matter so vastly deep it readily exhausts my exploratory powers, so I will bow early out of descriptive temptation. [↩]
- 116 minutes, if you're a stickler. [↩]
- Thunbergia grandiflora, aka clock vines, sky vines etc. Very pretty blue cunt-likes. [↩]
- From Latin sectis, cut. That which can not be cut.
Get a better language, I'm not changing what I want to say to fit what you know how to read. [↩]
- I can't begin to guess how much of it is Roger Deakins and how much the fraternal maniacs. [↩]
- Take as one sufficient example the man holding fate in his hands, mouth only visible curled by demonic smile and eventual cage melting, low on his left side. [↩]
- Take just the man driving the teen slut, framed between his wedding ring incarnating covenants with a suicide on the inner side and indistinct vegetation passing by moving windows on the outer side, it arch-suffices. [↩]
- I happen to have watched Ghostworld yesterday, a deplorable drainpour of a coupla juicy teenagers life & time unparalleled outside of the public school system. Watch it yourself, see what Birch and Johansson can manage of and on their own, bereft of actual ownership. Had they shot for Bangbros in the interval it'd have been a better use of those fleeting moments, days and minutes, that for them like for everyone flew away and are now no more. But, do not take my word for it ; go, watch it for yourself, and see. [↩]
- In any case quite liable to be the last, America didn't survive 2001 in any meaningful sense. [↩]