The Barber Blu-ray Review
THE BARBER is an odd cat and mouse game. It starts in the past with Francis Visser (Glenn). He’s arrested in the suspected killings of women across Chicago, but he’s released because of a lack of evidence. The grief of not being able to nab his alleged man is too much to bear for Thomas McCormack (Thomas Calabro). So while his young son watches television, he puts a bullet in his brain.
Cut to 20 years later as we follow John (Coy), the orphaned son of Thomas. He’s arrived to a quiet small town in Wisconsin where he appears to have tracked down Visser, who now goes by the name, Eugene Van Wingerdt. Eugene operates the area barbershop, doesn’t like swear words, and seems innocent enough. Once they meet, the battle to find out what the other wants begins and while it’s engaging half the time, other times it’s quite uneventfully boring.
The performance of Scott Glenn is what adds believability to Eugene’s character. He’s obviously a troubled man, haunted by something ominous, but at times he appears in command of what’s happening. Without Glenn perfectly punctuating the confusing facade of Eugene, this movie wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. That’s not to say that Chris Coy does a good job, but there’s not that much to work with. We know so much about John’s character, but so little about Eugene.
The movie boasts this level of uncertainty about Eugene because it’s not until the end we find out who Eugene truly is. Sure you could whittle him down to if he’s a killer or not a killer, but there are so many follow-up questions to each answer that the answer is never simple. John on the other hand, it’s just not that interesting to find out if he’s seeking revenge or some bizarre form of reconciliation.
Weaving in and out of the story is a former flame of John, a trashy waitress who hopes to be a current flame of John, the town Chief that hopes to bust John for something, and Luis, an employee under Eugene. What makes this hodgepodge of side characters dull is that none of them really bring too much to the table while some appear to be used like pawns by the two chess masters. But even then the film manages to nullify any intrigue by making their motives behind their pawn pieces pretty blatant. Also it seems like most of the time they gravitate towards John when the more interesting person should be Eugene, at least in my mind.
It’s difficult to discuss THE BARBER without spoiling too much because it is a story that slowly unravels and reveals a new layer to each of the two main characters. The slow reveal of information is done at a brisk pace, so there’s not enough time to digest the new information or create a slow burn that drums up a sense of dread or births a feeling of suspense.
THE BARBER is a clunky movie, but doesn’t screw up enough to warrant absolutely distaste for it. There are some things to like, but not enough to head into a positive territory. I’m really at a loss on whether to recommend or discredit. I can see some people enjoying the shallow mystery while I can the casual person turning it off 10 minutes in. Just like the motivation of THE BARBER’s characters, I don’t have a strong enough opinion to sway you one way or the other.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) It’s a cold, unforgiving world we find out characters in. The image captures the dark essence inhabiting this world and really makes the fluorescent illumination of night time seem brighter than the cloudy days.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) No problems with the audios. There’s a serene balance of dialogue, music, and sound effects.
Alternate Ending (3:19): This barely changes a few things, but it’s a lot more enjoyable because it leaves some ambiguity.
Deleted Scenes (9:33): These can only be played separately. These were most likely removed to help with the flow of the movie.
Extended Scenes (3:10): Only two scenes that can only be played separately. Nothing groundbreaking here since they’re extensions of two unimportant scenes.