He Was A Quiet Man
He Was A Quiet Man contains some fairly well-known actors; Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert and William H. Macy, however, there is a good chance you have never heard of it. This likely is not due to low budget as much as it has to do with the poor first half the film and weak storyline. Although this film may not be a gem to most, it still maybe worth a watch as it does pick up about mid-way through.
As the title suggests, Bob Maconel (Christian Slater) plays a quiet man who is an introvert in every sense of the word. He is a loner who works at an unrewarding job where he despises nearly everyone who works with him. He boss humiliates and takes advantage of him. Maconel brings a gun with him to work with the intention of shooting his co-workers, although never follows through with it. One day a colleague has a breakdown and does what he has always wanted to do, shoots a few colleagues. Thanks to him being armed himself he takes out the shooter in what looks like an ultimate display of courage and honor.
Everyone now considers him a hero in the community and in the work place. His boss promotes him to the VP of Creative Thinking, replacing a victim of the shooting, Vanessa. Vanessa is quite possibly the only employee that he liked. She is now a quadriplegic from a bullet to the spine. Maconel visits her in the hospital and she asks him to assist her in committing suicide as she feels she has no reason to live anymore. Deep down he struggles with fulfilling that request or to care for her.
Although, they do touch on it a little bit, I couldn’t help but wonder why more people didn’t question the fact he had a gun to begin with. I can understand at first being perhaps overshadowed by the heroism but I would think it would be something not to overlook. That bothered me a little.
It seems to me that He Was A Quiet Man was nearly two separate films, the first half and the second half. I’m not even talking about the storyline either, I mean in terms of quality of the film itself. The first half starts out pretty rough with continuity errors and awkward acting. Thankfully, the film does pick up and gets on the right track later.
An impressive feat that the film was actually shot in just 21 days but I feel like it was better off as a short-story rather than a full length feature. The visual graphics at times were pretty impressive but in others were a little too amateurish. Some un-needed graphics were in there too. Specifically, when he is sitting around a fire, the fire was fake rather than using a real one. Also the airplanes that flew over were CGI and looked decent but for how close they were to them, you would think there would be a little more wind produced from them.
Christian Slater played Bob Maconel very well and by the end you see a transformation in character. His paranoia and madness was believable. It was hard to tell in the beginning if he was going to be able to pull off this character or not, I think he succeeded.
The cinematography in He Was A Quiet Man was impressive enough to where I think it should have been up for more awards. It did win Best Feature Cinematography at the Newport Beach Film Festival but was not even nominated at Sundance, Independent Spirit, or Cannes. Through unique camera angles and usage it was able to convey the mood of the film. Using a fixed fisheye camera on Maconel as he walks through the office gives you a paranoid and claustrophobic feel.
If you are one to turn off films half-way through if it is not to your liking, you may find yourself doing so. Fortunately, I do not fall into that category, although there has been plenty of times I have wanted to before. I say fortunately because all is not lost and there are some quality moments in there.