Just another masterpiece from the Coen brothers. Billy Bob Thornton plays Ed, a barber who doesn’t talk too much and who discovers his wife is having an affair. He gets involved in a blackmail scheme with tragic results. The Coens tell the story in beautiful black and white, set in 1940s California, with a performance from Thornton that is his best work since Sling Blade
. A masterful supporting cast includes Frances McDormand as Ed’s wife, Jon Polito as a scheming entrepreneur and James Gandolfini as a department store manager who should’ve avoided temptation. The Coens have not made a bad movie yet, and yes, I’ve seen and enjoyed The Hudsucker Proxy
. It’s one of the year’s best, and it should get Thornton an Academy Award nomination in a parallel universe, where those who vote on the awards know what they’re doing.