Christian Slater stars as Bob, a meek, nerdy, put-upon office worker whose goldfish tells him to murder his asshole co-workers. One day, he takes the fish’s advice and brings a handgun to work with the intention of going postal on his cubicle neighbors. Problem is, someone else beats him to the punch and blows everyone away, including a cute chick named Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert). Bob, already well armed, shoots the gunman and becomes a media celebrity, gets a raise, a promotion, and a company car. Vanessa meanwhile becomes paralyzed during the shootout and is bitter toward Bob for not allowing the psycho to finish his job. She asks Bob to kill her, but pretty soon they’re eating dinner together and doing karaoke. Bob starts caring for her and together they learn to reconnect with their own humanity. But after Vanessa regains some movement, Bob fears that she’ll leave him and he slowly starts going bonkers again.
This black dramadey is full of surprises and has a lot of unique touches. The flick has a lot of Fight Club-esque moments (Bob imagines himself blowing up his office building while on his lunch break and has some pretty funny interior monologues), but it has an offbeat sense of humor all it’s own. Although the last quarter of the film doesn’t quite live up to it’s early promise, He Was a Quiet Man is still worthwhile, thanks to some terrific performances.
This is quite simply Slater’s best performance in a long time. It’s good to see him doing some quirky character work for a change instead of just imitating Jack Nicholson all the time. I’ve always enjoyed him as an actor (he was the shit in Young Guns 2) and he really hasn’t had a role he could really sink his teeth into since True Romance. Cuthbert, usually cast as “the girl” in most movies, does a tremendous job in a difficult role and William H. Macy shines as Slater’s boss. (Has he ever really given a bad performance though?) Project Greenlight fans will also have fun spotting Feast director John Gulager as an ineffectual shrink.