Ed Crane's The Man Who Wasn T There

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From the opening scene as viewers see a striped column spiraling into the abyss outside of Ed Crane’s barber shop, they know that “The Man Who Wasn’t There” is doomed for failure. Adding to the visual cues foreshadowing the tragedy is the somber tone of the musical score. This initial tone flows through most of the film and relates viewers to Ed Crane and his desolate, monotonous life. Through this tone the basis of a film noir is achieved, since these films are “defined by tone rather than genre.” (Schrader 266) All the wrong turns, or the right turns depending on perspective, lead Ed to a prison cell where he sits and writes his memoir awaiting the day he will be escorted to his death. By analyzing the final scene of “The Man Who Wasn’t There”…show more content…
This is a poignant moment in the film because more eyes are on Ed than had been throughout what seems like his entire life. This shot seems to be a parallel to how Ed felt when he was walking down the street after his wife died, he referred to himself as a ghost who was ignored and isolated. Ed never seemed to evoke emotion from the people around him, and although what his is evoking from these men is probably negative, at least he’s making them feel something. Ed gets to the chair and there is a close shot of his chains being released as the piano seems to crescendo, which symbolizes Ed’s release from a life that he can’t seem to change for the better. Ed is then strapped to the chair, which may seem like he is trapped again but for once he seems comfortable with where he is because he knows that he is strapped into his escape. In a moment of reflection, Ed watches the man shave his leg which is reminiscent of the scene of him shaving his wife’s leg as well as the scene in which he discusses the fatality of haircuts with his fellow barber. Though he speaks no words in these moments, it seems as if he is thinking of his relationship with his wife. The scene in which Ed shaves his wife’s leg is subtly sexual, and the most intimate that we see him with his wife through the film, although it is eventually said that he and his wife have not been…show more content…
It is almost as if he sees something that confirms his peace in these last seconds of his life. In films it is common to relate death with darkness, or a fade to black. By having the film fade to white instead again reinforces the idea that because Ed’s life was filled with darkness his only to change it for the better was death. This seems to be a running theme in the lives of characters in noir films that in order to escape their noir-esque lives, the only way out is death. The characters who do survive are left an even darker place then that which they started, left to pick up the pieces of a tragic mess due to the fateful world in which they were born

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