Set in post-war California and shot by Roger Deakins in ravishing, steely b/w, the Coens' predictably unpredictable crime movie - about an impassive, deeply internalised, reluctant barber whose doubts about his wife's fidelity lead him into a perilous realm of blackmail, homicide and obsessive feelings for a customer's teenage daughter - may be inspired in part by Cain, but it's neither noir nor thriller. Though it's touched by typically absurd or surreal moments of humour, it's otherwise quite meditative and arty. It's a brave and largely successful attempt to explore the inner workings of someone who simply doesn't feel the way most of us do. Indeed, he doesn't feel very much at all, and when he does, he doesn't get it. In this the Coens' sly script is helped no end by Billy Bob Thornton's supremely eloquent performance as the taciturn tonsor, lent terrific support from Frances McDormand as the wife.