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He Was a Quiet Man


Stars: Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, William H Macy

Director: Frank A Cappello

Unbearably (and improbably) bullied at work by his immediate superiors, who browbeat him to ridiculous lengths, Bob Maconel (Slater) is indeed quiet, to the point of narcolepsy. It isn't clear when he buys a gun if it's to shoot himself or the co-workers he hates, but in any case the guy in the next cubicle beats him to it, drawing a pistol, killing several members of staff and paralysing Vanessa (Cuthbert), whom Bob had worshipped from afar.

Threatened by the man, Bob draws his own gun and kills him. Going from zero to hero in one fell swoop, he finds himself promoted by the boss (Macy) to be vice-president of creative thinking. And, after a rocky start, he strikes up a relationship with Vanessa and steers her away from suicide.

It's doubtful whether such an obvious potential nutcase as Bob would last five minutes without being referred by the firm for psychiatric treatment, but no matter: this is just about as depressing a film as you'll ever wish to see. Slater's an actor I admire, but he underplays too much here, his droning voice-over is sometimes difficult to hear and the character, like most of the film, is downright annoying.

After 90 minutes of this slow, agonising stuff, you may find yourself completely baffled (and/or irritated) by the ending - if you get that far. At least the ravishing Cuthbert gets an acting role here, instead of one that merely requires her to look provocative or frightened.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Dec 2007