“The Man Who Wasn’t There” was the Coens follow up to the successful soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” This was not not a huge release which is odd considering the success of its predecessor. The Coens seem to suffer the same fate as Terry Gilliam, Genius Film Maker. That is, no matter how successful a film is, not matter how many successful films one has in a row, a filmmaker sufferring from the T.G. syndrome will have constant uphill battles getting films made and released. However, I think the Coens have a more mild case of this than poor Terry Gilliam.
Moving on. “The Man Who Wan’t There” is a hillarious (if you can laugh at things like this) film that successfully pulls off the ode to film noir the the Coens often skirt on, but have, until now, failed to fully realize. However, by their very nature, the Coens will never actually make a full fledged noir film. They often can’t help making light of an otherwise heavy situation. Humor is something that “The Maltese Falcon” never achieves. But that is one of the things I love about their films.