He Was a Quiet Man (2007)

Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, William H. Macy, Michael DeLuise,
He Was a Quiet Man is a movie starring Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, and William H. Macy. An office worker inadvertently becomes a hero after he saves a woman's life.
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Frank A. Cappello, Director:
  • Michael Leahy, Producer:

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8 / 10

Loneliness, Humiliation and Paranoia

In Los Angeles, the lonely and paranoid Bob Maconel (Christian Slater) is a complete loser: at home, in spite of living in the same address for five years, his next door neighbor ignores his existence and he only talks to his alter-ego golden fish in his aquarium; in the office at ADD company, he is abused and humiliated by his colleagues and nobody has ever asked an opinion to him or invited him to a happy-hour. Every now and then Bob imagines shooting five loath coworkers or blowing up ADD's building. When his next cubicle colleague has a breakdown and shoots his colleagues, Bob kills him with five shots and becomes a popular local hero. His boss Gene Shelby (William H. Macy) moves him from his cubicle to an office in the last floor and makes him the VP of Creative Thinking as the substitute for Vanessa Parks (Elisha Cuthbert), who has become quadriplegic with one bullet in her spine. Bob visits Vanessa in the hospital and after the initial rejection, she asks him to help her to commit suicide. However, they become close and Bob falls in love for Vanessa. But the mistreatment in the past and lack of confidence of the quiet Bob haunt him, driving him to an insanity process.

"He Was a Quiet Man" is an impressively dark and morbid character study of a paranoid man after years of humiliation and loneliness. Most of the characters in the office are usually found in most companies, from the sweet woman that uses sex to climb positions to the apple-polisher; the abusive to the abused worker. Therefore, there is a total credibility in the universe of the employees of ADD. The underrated Christian Slater gives a fantastic performance with the quiet and ignored Bob Maconel and his character is very well developed, slightly recalling Michael Douglas in "Falling Down". The extremely dark humor may be unpleasant to some viewers but I found this movie a gem to be discovered. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Fúria" ("The Rage")

7 / 10

Witty, quirky, dark comedy undone slightly by its visuals...

Frank A. Cappello, writer and director of He Was a Quiet Man, is a man with something to prove, having written the hilariously bad Hulk Hogan vehicle Suburban Commando, and directing the wholly disappointing Constantine. He Was a Quiet Man, whilst not an unqualified success, is one of the underseen gems of 2007.

The film is essentially an amalgam of A History of Violence, Falling Down, and Office Space, with a pile of quirks to boot. Bob Maconel (the hilariously disguised Christian Slater), a despondent office worker, decides that he is going to perform a murderous rampage at his work office, yet before he can do so, a fellow maniac beats him to it. However, Bob, in protecting the one person that he cares about, the beautiful Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert), guns down the assailant, and inadvertently becomes a hero.

Bob is unashamedly similar to Michael Douglas' "D-Fens" character from Falling Down, kitted out in a shirt and tie, and even further, seeks moments of reflection in the great outdoors, although in this instance, there are no Mexican gangsters attempting to rob him. The similarities do, thankfully, stop there ? this film is born of something else, with its CGI traffic whizzing by at astronomical speeds as Bob dawdles along, illustrating the drudgery of Bob's life without an ounce of subtlety. Whilst the film as a whole is overly reliant on visual curiosities such as this, the animated, talking fish which eggs Bob on to kill his colleagues is delightfully colourful, and mildly amusing to boot.

As one can gather from the above paragraph, He Was a Quiet Man is very surreal in a hilarious sort of way. Essentially, if you gave David Lynch a funny bone, you'd probably end up with something remarkably similar to this. Despite the aforementioned reliance on visual effects, the film is unquestionably carried by the barely-recognisable Slater who, despite his recent collaboration with tragically awful director Uwe Boll, proves that he is still worth something in Hollywood, with comic timing that is nothing short of spot on.

Bob is essentially revered by everyone around him for his "heroic" actions ? he is given a new job, his colleagues no longer think of him as a schmuck, and the sexy office bitch wants to have sex with him, yet the film's real point of contention is Cuthbert's character. Vanessa is left paralysed following the shooting, wishing that she was dead, and moreover, she wishes that Bob, who saved her life, would kill her.

A surprisingly understated (until the climatic scenes) conundrum surfaces as an aside to this drama ? Bob still finds those around him utterly repugnant, and he considers whether or not to carry out what the other gunner started, as well as putting Vanessa out of her misery, of course. The film carries these questions very well ? it is at times predictable, and occasionally not so, yet it never ceases to lose its sense of intrigue. The film's examination of the way in which humans operate is not intricate, and verges on syrupy at times, yet what is most entertaining about He Was a Quiet Man is its surreal spirit. Furthermore, even in its sweetness, the film explores the lives of disabled persons with a surprising level of insight and honesty . It may be exaggerated, and at times, even humorous, yet its approach is undeniably refreshing, particularly in relation to how the disabled manage to still engage in an active and healthy sex life.

He Was a Quiet Man never remains comfortable, constantly fidgeting and posing new questions for both ourselves and Bob to consider. The film follows through with an insane close, yet it is the most manically reasoned, and therefore, perhaps the most realistic end possible (although term "realism" is a very tenuous one in a film as twisted as this). The ending comes very abruptly, and little is done to satisfy viewer curiosity, yet we are given the vital answers, even if they aren't wholly satisfying, and are a tad questionable. We are left to ponder several things, yet when the preceding ninety minutes are so intentionally devoid of poignance, the film may simply leave your mind as the final frame does.

Christian Slater's latest and greatest effort (at least for a while) is A History of Violence without the graphic violence, Falling Down without the social commentary, and Office Space without the sagacious humour. Yes, it is a blend of all three films, at the cost of diluting each of them. The film's worst crime may be never allowing us to particularly care for Bob (or anyone) as much as we did for D-Fens in Schumacher's film, yet even despite its relative superficiality, He Was a Quiet Man remains a thoroughly entertaining, inventive and quirky film that will have nihilists the world over utterly dumbfounded (myself included). Elisha Cuthbert pulls out a career best (in that she is above tolerable, and even "good"), William H Macy plays the corporate yes-man with glee, and Slater, with great aid from his fabulous make-up department, looks and acts with great hilarity. It is unfortunate that this film, embracing its flaws as it so flagrantly does, has yet to find a large audience, and as such, it instantly becomes one of the indie staples of 2007.

8 / 10

Very interesting...

"He Was a Quiet Man" is perhaps the most original and unpredictable movie I've ever seen. If you're looking for something "normal", you should probably look elsewhere.

A story of an extremely lonely, put-upon, disturbed man who desperately wants to be Somebody. Christian Slater plays this man absolutely brilliantly. In watching his performance, I kept thinking "Where is Christian Slater?" ... Well, he's not even in the neighborhood. Well done, guy!

The direction is absolutely amazing: colorful, imaginative, darkly funny, and surreal. Cubicles, and hummingbirds, and talking fish, oh my!

While the film is not particularly emotionally satisfying (to say the least), on the cerebral and aesthetic level, it delivers big time.

"He Was a Quiet Man" answers the musical question: "Now maniacs will think twice before going crazy."

Yessiree.

7 / 10

This is a "must see"

I've never been a fan of Christian Slater although I've never been a detractor either. This movie turned any opinion I had of him on its head. A well scripted film, beautifully acted (By Slater, Macy and Cuthbert) from start to finish. Slater is a desperate man ready to go to ultimate lengths to right a world he sees as wrong. As can be seen in the trailer, he's beaten to the punch and inadvertently becomes a hero. It's at this point that the film begins in earnest. It doesn't try and get too clever as some movies tend do with a story of this ilk (sometimes to the detriment of the movie). The story was strong enough to carry me all the way through to the end. Buy it, go see it, rent it.

10 / 10

Touching...with a Memento-esquire Flair

I came into this title knowing absolutely nothing about it, besides the fact that Christian Slater was the lead. What I watched was nothing short of fantastic.

We are first introduced to Bob (Slater), a man on the verge (or possibly in the thrall of) of a total breakdown. Sort of reminds you of Milton from Office Space, but taken so far over the edge, there's just no looking back. He's mistreated at work, he hates his job, and he wants it all to end.

The thing that really got me attached to this film was the observations of the inner workings of Bob. He talks to his goldfish, and for crying out loud, the thing talks back. This is obviously an unstable man. His stabilizer though, found in the "victim", Vanessa (played amazingly well by Elisha Cuthbert), reminded me so much of Carrie-Ann Moss from Memento. She carries him, but teaches him to be a stronger man through essential "ball-busting".

The script was perfect for each of the lead roles. Both Cuthbert and especially Slater shocked me to no end with their talent. This was Slater's ideal role. Director Frank A. Cappello regained some status with this. It was quite the achievement. It's unfortunate that it had such a small release (I would've never heard of it if it wasn't for the fact that I got an advance DVD). It's going to go overlooked for many. Look it up at your local video store, folks, this will be worth it!!!