There is a good deal of similarity in The Man in the Hat with the comedic turns of Jacques Tait’s Mon Oncle and Mr Hulot silent films of the 1950s and more recently, The Artist. Tait’s films centred usually on an awkward character unwittingly raising havoc wherever he went, resulting in hilarious outcomes.
In The Man in the Hat, Ciaran Hinds (of Game of Thrones fame) plays the titular character with a dilemma weighing heavily on his heart. Decades ago he was in love; he still carries a framed picture of his lover. Now after much time has passed, he cannot shake off the thought of her. Shall he let her go or venture off to find her?
The decision is made for him when, idly enjoying a wine in an alfresco Marseilles cafe, The Man in the Hat becomes an eyewitness to the disposal of a dead body. The group of small time hoods – known as the Five Bald Men – see that The Man in the Hat has seen their act and they look set to finish him off also. The Man in the Hat escapes in his small Fiat with the hoods in hot pursuit all squeezed into a just-as-small Citreon.
As he travels through the beautiful countryside of northern France, he manages to elude the hoods, only to be brought face to face with them at the next town or village bullfight in comical circumstances. Along the way, he encounters many characters with stories to tell, plenty of delicious food, a zany garage of female mechanics, and a convention of crystallographers where he is mistaken for the keynote speaker.
The Man in the Hat is a refreshing and a good-natured fun ride. With limited dialogue, music plays a key role in conveying story and emotion throughout the film, with a score that deftly transports audiences to the French countryside.
The Man in the Hat is screening now. Check your local guides for screening times.
About The Man in the Hat
Duration: 95 Minutes
Written and directed by John-Paul Davidson, Stephen Warbeck
Stars Ciaran Hinds, Stephen Dillane, Sylvain Thirolle, Conor Lovett