“HE WAS A QUIET MAN” (Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert & William H. Macy)
I guess this will have to be a ‘DVD’ review as this film is no longer showing; & for a movie that was only in town for two weeks at one theater, it is surprisingly good. I never saw a trailer to this, never saw an ad – all I knew about it came from one review which praised Christian Slater’s performance, but panned the film.
“He Was A Quiet Man” doesn’t cover any new territory, but it does so in an unusual way.
Christian Slater plays Bob, a worker bee at a large corporation. Bob sits in his small cubicle doing boring ‘numbers’ tasks. Every day Bob takes a revolver from his briefcase and six bullets from his desk drawer & loads them by giving each a name... ‘Annoying bitch’ is one bullet; ‘Back Stabber’ is another. Bob glances up at each co-worker as he loads their bullet into the chamber. When he reaches bullet #6, Bob hesitates – he doesn’t name it.
Bob lives in a small house with an aquarium full of goldfish – the biggest, bug-eyed one is his best friend – Bob holds conversations with him – the goldfish talks back. It’s one of several ‘quirky’ bits in this film that I really liked; as the goldfish is disappointed when Bob returns home from work everyday since that means he ‘chickened out’ again.
Bob has a crush on office cutie Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert) who only knows him as ‘hula man’ because Bob has a bobble-figurine of a hula dancer which sits atop the divider of his cubicle.
Bob eats his lunch across the street from where he works and every day he takes a black box with a red button upon it out of his briefcase & pretends to blow the building to smithereens. As Bob imagines huge chunks of concrete & steel falling around them, Vanessa jogs by & with her usual friendly smile says “How’s it goin’, hula man?”
Yes, a quirky film that keeps getting quirkier.
The next day as Bob goes thru the loading his gun routine he begins to shake while trying to load the un-named 6th bullet, it falls from his fingers & rolls across the floor. Bob drops to his hands & knees & sees it in the middle of the pathway out in the open for all to see. Then he sees a shoe step on the bullet. A moment later gunshots ring out – four consecutive shots & four consecutive bodies hit the floor. Bob goes into panic mode – as the viewer of this offbeat tale, I wondered what was really going on – was this Bob playing out his fantasy as he does with his lunchtime explosion?
A 5th shot is fired at a jerk supervisor, but #5 misses its mark. Bob hears ‘Dammit’, & stands to see Coleman, a nerdy looking bald man with glasses standing directly across from him. The conversation they hold is... well, quirky. When one of the 4 victims moans, Bob sees that it is Vanessa. I won’t reveal how, but Bob saves her from being put out of her misery.
Vanessa becomes paralyzed from the neck down & Bob becomes entwined in a pact with her as she enlists his help in ‘finishing what Coleman started’.
Slater deserves recognition for his work in this film – he isn’t anything like the Christian Slater you’ve seen in the past. Elisha Cuthbert, on the other hand, is a cutie; I love to look at her, but she needs to find roles that don’t demand any ability to act... A mute nude model would be a step in the right direction.
William H. Macy plays the boss of the corporation, Mr. Shelby; he doesn’t appear until the second half, but he gives this film credibility just because he’s William H. Macy, dammit!
Expectations mean a lot in the world of movie-going & being rated NR, I didn’t know what to expect from ‘He Was A Quiet Man’, but I got a much better film than I anticipated. Why NR? I have no idea – it is a mild ‘R’ movie for language & one quick topless shot. (& they aren’t Elisha’s – they pull the old ‘here’s a pair of bare breasts but we’re not going to show the face in the shot’ gag – so you know they’re ‘stunt boobs’)
It probably won’t get any fanfare when it comes out on DVD either, but if you like off-the-wall films centering on a serious subject, but done with a good dose of dark humor, seek out ‘He Was A Quiet Man’ in a few months & I believe you’ll be saying the same thing I said – How come no one promoted this very entertaining film?