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He Was a Quiet Man
He Was a Quiet Man
Actors: William H. Macy, Elisha Cuthbert, Christian Slater
Director: Frank A. Cappello
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2008     1hr 39min

Bob Maconel (Christian Slater) endures another eight hours in a dull grey cubicle. Ignored by his co-workers, Bob feels completely invisible and out of sync with the world. On one strange day he crosses the line from poten...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: William H. Macy, Elisha Cuthbert, Christian Slater
Director: Frank A. Cappello
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/15/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

David B. (EyesMalloy)
Reviewed on 6/13/2014...
Christian Slater has been giving filmgoers terrific performances since the late 80s, but unfortunately Hollywood blacklisted him long ago. After making several major hits like Heathers, True Romance, and Interview with the Vampire, he was relegated to a career of strictly independent films. Nothing wrong with indies, but Slater has long since proved his talent and should have the choice to play in the majors.

He Was A Quiet Man is probably Slater's best film in the past decade. He completely inhabits the role and is practically unrecognizable. The first time I saw this film I was shocked by how realistically both writer and actor portray this misanthropic, misogynistic character who's been driven to hopeless extremes by America's cruel and superficial society. I knew immeditately that it possessed the rare potential to strike a chord with many men across the country, and I hope it is given enough exposure to do so.

The story transcends the delicate balance between fantasy and reality, comedy and drama, and results in a powerful, unforgettable film experience. While its ambiguity may turn off some viewers, most will applaud the direct, uncompromising approach. Suffice it to say a film like this could nary reach a mainstream audience, but that's really a shame. Regardless, I hope Slater's tour-de-force performance here will finally earn him some good gigs at the major studios again.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 7/2/2012...
He was a quiet man…. But very very strange!
A small film with some stellar acting as well as writing makes this film well worth watching! Starring Christian Slater (Dolan’s Cadillac, TV’s Breaking In) as an office “geek” who has no life but plenty of hate hidden inside, hears voices in his head including his pet gold fish, and just happens to have a loaded gun in his desk drawer. An office co-worker shoots several people in the work place and some state “he was a quiet man”. Slater’s character, Bob Maconel shoots and kills the shooter then becomes a hero to all his remaining co-workers! He has had a long time crush on another co-worker played by Elisha Cuthbert (TV’s 24, Happy Endings) who is shot and paralyzed by the shooter and she now sees Bob as a hero but wants his help to end her life as a quadriplegic. Big boss of the company is William H. Macy (The Lincoln Lawyer, Wild Hogs) who always steals the show in his scenes! This movie may seem somewhat slow to some but it’s well worth viewing to appreciate life in a cubicle, comparable to gerbils on a wheel!
James B. (wandersoul73) from TYLER, TX
Reviewed on 7/5/2009...
Slater does some his best later work here. He totally gets lost in the role.
2 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
A tale of a man who takes a gun to work with the intent of killing co-workers, only to become the hero for stopping another worker from doing the same. Some aspects require too much suspension of disbelief. Christian Slater was great as the disgruntled employee – hardly recognizable! Could be enjoyable for fans of American Psycho.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Serendipity in a Chaotic World
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 02/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"HE WAS A QUIET MAN echoes the all too familiar news item of irrational killings in public places - here, in this country, by seemingly 'normal indistinguishable people'. Writer/director Frank A. Cappello has a good grasp on his subject matter and probably intended the rather slow movement of the film to underline the 'ordinary' situations that in a flash become extraordinary. And he has a fine cast to demonstrate his thoughts.

Bob Maconel (Christian Slater in fine distorting makeup) is a nerd, an ordinary geek who checks numbers form his sterile cubicle in a massive corporation, heckled by the 'fast guys' like Scott Harper (Jamison Jones). He loathes his life, his crumby house and unkempt lawn, and most of all the loathes the people with whom he works - except for one Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert) who has a 'smile that lights up a room', but pays no attention to the geeky Bob. Bob is deranged, talks to his goldfish at home (and they answer back!), and plans to kill the most offensive of his fellow workers. But in the adjacent cubicle there is a like mind who beats him to the show and one morning opens fire killing five people and wounding Vanessa with a bullet to her spine that leaves her paralyzed: Bob serendipitously uses his own gun to kill the assailant and becomes a hero for the corporation.

Though Bob is unchanged in appearance or outlook he is elevated to VP of Creative Thinking under the head boss Gene Shelby (William H. Macy). He visits Vanessa in the hospital, suffers her tantrum at being a quadriplegic, but finally is called back to her bedside and sweet-talked into being her hero life-saving guardian - and more. Once Bob feels needed and perhaps 'loved' by Vanessa he begins to change, only to have unfortunate reminders of reality enter and alter his life yet again.

Though the subject matter is rather terrifying, Cappello elects to present this tale as black humor. In the hands of less competent actors it would like have been a dud, but with Christian Slater's finely nuanced performance the film takes on a powerful sheen. The line between madness and normalcy is a thin one indeed and there are many disturbing lessons to be gained from watching this small but well-done film. Grady Harp, February 08

A Christian Slater tour-de-force
Craig Matteson | Ann Arbor, MI | 02/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Count me as one of those that really admire (most) of this film.

My disappointments: I don't like the fire hose volume of profanity and don't believe it represents real life as much as those justifying it want to pretend it does. And there is one rather disturbing sex scene that could have been handled differently to make the same point. These kinds of scenes aren't "real" and certainly can't compete with movies made to arouse. So, why have them?

Christian Slater is terrific as the deeply disturbed Bob Maconel. He is a cipher and used as an office whipping boy by a couple of low-level low-quality bullies passing for managers. Like many office drones, he dreams about a woman at the office. His dreamgirl is named Vanessa who notices the ceramic bobble hula girl he keeps on his cubicle, but she is too absorbed in her blazing rocket of a career to even pay attention to real people in anything but a passing manner. But she has a smile that lights up a room, as the movie keeps noting.

Bob takes his lunch on a spot where he has a view of the company skyscraper and has a little plastic box with a button so he can fantasize blowing the building to kingdom come. More disturbingly, he has a real gun with real bullets that he ritualistically loads by naming who each bullet is for. But he hasn't been able to bring himself to pull the trigger. During one performance of his rite he drops a bullet and while he is on the floor a gun is fired and people start dropping while others scream. An old man has carried out Bob's fantasy and they strike up a conversation that ends up with Bob emptying his gun in the old man.

The rest of the movie teases out how Bob is treated as a hero, is promoted, and his connection with Vanessa who was made a quadriplegic in the shooting (the shooter thought she was someone else). So, Bob has this secret that others approach but no one will really confront. Even the company shrink appears only to be be circling the core issues.

William H. Macy plays the CEO, Gene Shelby. Vanessa was an up and coming VP who reported directly to him and their relationship combined the very personal with the professional. Gene isn't really a bad guy, but just a ordinarily flawed guy running a company. Others project their own fantasies and frustrations onto him and that is a quite realistic aspect of the film. One funny aspect of the film is that Gene's desk is made up of multiple tables that are, together, somewhat larger than Rhode Island.

The way the movie is filmed handles the madness and melting realities very well. I had not seen these kinds of visual symbols before and thought they were quite effective.

Why some call this a comedy or a black comedy is beyond me. Yes, there are some comic moments, but the overall intent of the movie is serious. True, Bob carries on mutual conversations with his goldfish, but what do you expect such an isolated man who has drifted into madness to do?

I think this is a very effective movie and recommend it for the right audience (keeping my caveats in mind). For me, it was a Christian Slater tour-de-force.

Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
Christian Slater puts forth possibly the best performance of
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 02/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This movie wasn't bad for a Slater film. "He Was A Quiet Man" (the title refers to those comments by neighbours, after they discover that kindly Mr Jones at number 23 was actually an axe murderer) is the role of a lifetime for Christian Slater, who almost disappears into his character. It's hard to believe that this watery-eyed dork is Clarence from True Romance. Bob is quite possibly the most ineffectual man you could wish to meet - he just lacks a cruel mother to make the picture complete.

And yet Bob actually isn't, in the world of the film, any worse that the dreadful people who surround him. It's an excoriating portrait of corporate culture; happy hour at the bar over the road, a few rounds at the driving range at the weekend, pointless, demeaning work. The film is no gentler on the treatment of the disabled. In particularly when Vanessa returns to the office in her wheelchair, her former colleagues talk down to her as if she was a toddler. Director Frank A Cappello frames the film to exaggerate Bob's sense of alienation in the world. Bob trudges slowly out to lunch as speeded up cars roar past him. He is often shot in extreme close-up, sweating, with a particularly attractive pimple glowing on his forehead.

In the end, though, the film fails to say anything terribly original about alienation and the modern world, other than that it's enough to drive some people crazy. And I think we knew that. A moderately entertaining oddity.