Film Review – The Man In The Hat (2020)

Almost all silent of dialogue, this whimsical comedic travelogue around the French countryside is undeniably charming following the unusual offbeat situations of a Man in a hat (Ciaran Hinds) motoring scenically in his Fiat 500, accompanied only by a photograph of a beautiful unnamed woman.

Beginning with the man sitting peacefully at a cafe, he witnesses a mysterious incident by a group of somewhat ruffians who in turn become part of an ongoing chase scenario.

A series of skilfully arranged momentous set pieces using both glorious surroundings and interesting characters continue to delight throughout.

Since early in his career, The Cook the Thief his Wife and Her Lover (1989).I have always admired the great Irish thespian, Ciaran Hinds. As an actor he’s versatile and dignified, however without uttering much more than a murmur as the man in the hat.

communication through facial expressions, nods or reactions is a perfected, effective treat.

A case of mistaken identity involving a duo playing crystal glasses is a standout scene for me, as was a camping scene and monologue with a lone biker played by exotic French sovereign, Maiwenn.

All the light fragrancy is offset and tuned in to some wonderful music across a varied soundtrack.

An abundance of smooth jazz rhythms, with mandolins and horns amongst other well chimed instruments by Oscar winning composer Stephen Warbeck.

He’s also co-director / writer on this opus with, John Paul Davidson.

There’s pop song musical interludes and live performances including a random industrial melody by a female mechanics’ chorus.

Add to that lots of food glorious food alongside various aspects of romance and friendship explored, you have an unforgettable, harmless, blithe romp.

★★★★ | Shane A.Bassett

Comedy | UK, 2020 | 12A | Cinema (18th September 2020), VOD (19th October 2020) | Kaleidoscope Entertainment | Dir.John-Paul Davidson, Stephen Warbeck | Ciarán Hinds, Stephen Dillane, Maïwenn