THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE
Written and directed by the Coen Brothers
Reidenschneider: They got this guy, in Germany. Fritz Something-or-other. Or is it? Maybe it's Werner. Anyway, he's got this theory, you wanna test something, you know, scientifically - how the planets go round the sun, what sunspots are made of, why the water comes out of the tap - well, you gotta look at it. But sometimes you look at it, your looking changes it. Ya can't know the reality of what happened, or what would've happened if you hadn't-a stuck in your own goddamn schnozz. So there is no "what happened"? Not in any sense that we can grasp, with our puny minds. Because our minds... our minds get in the way. Looking at something changes it. They call it the "Uncertainty Principle". Sure, it sounds screwy, but even Einstein says the guy's on to something.
Ed Crane: And then it was Riedenschneider's turn. I gotta hand it to him, he tossed a lot of sand in their eyes. He talked about how I'd lost my place in the universe; how I was too ordinary to be the criminal mastermind the D.A. made me out to be; how there was some greater scheme at work that the state had yet to unravel. And he threw in some of the old "truth" stuff he hadn't had a chance to trot out for Doris. He told them to look at me, look at me close. That the closer they looked, the less sense it would all make; that I wasn't the kind of guy to kill a guy; that I was The Barber, for Christsake. I was just like them - an ordinary man. Guilty of living in a world that had no place for me, yeah. Guilty of wanting to be a dry cleaner, sure. But not a murderer. He said I *was* modern man, and if they voted to convict me, well, they'd be practically cinching the noose around their own necks. He told them to look, not at the facts, but at the meaning of the facts. Then he said the facts had no meaning. It was a pretty good speech. It even had me going...
Ed: This hair.
Ed: You ever wonder about it?
Frank: Whuddya mean?
Ed: I don't know... How it keeps on coming. It just keeps growing.
Frank: Yeah, lucky for us, huh pal?
Ed: No, I mean it's growing, it's part of us. And we cut it off. And we throw it away.
Frank: Come on, Eddie, you're gonna scare the kid.
Ed: I'm gonna take his hair and throw it out in the dirt.
Frank: What the...
Ed: I'm gonna mingle it with common house dirt.
Frank: What the hell are you talking about?
Ed: I don't know. Skip it.
Ed Crane: I thought about what an undertaker had told me once - that your hair keeps growing, for a while anyway, after you die, and then it stops. I thought, "What keeps it growing? Is it like a plant in soil? What goes out of the soil? The soul? And when does the hair realize that it's gone?"
Ed Crane: I don't know where I'm being taken. I don't know what I'll find, beyond the earth and sky. But I'm not afraid to go. Maybe the things I don't understand will be clearer there, like when a fog blows away. Maybe Doris will be there. And maybe there I can tell her all those things they don't have words for here.
Ed Crane: Doris and I went to church once a week. Usually Tuesday night.
Priest: B-9. I-29.
Ed Crane: It's like pulling away from the maze. While you're in the maze, you go through willy nilly, turning where you think you have to turn; banging into the dead ends. One thing after another. But you get some distance on it, and all those twists and turns, why, they're the shape of your life. It's hard to explain. But seeing it whole gives you some peace.