Nice guy. Quiet. Kept to himself.
Mass murderers often generate a typical refrain about their "quietness," but no one says such a thing in the middle of their invariably bloody rampages. Here, Christian Slater is aptly cast as a wallflower who's burning with rage on the inside. The catch is that when the appointed hour for Bob Maconel's cubicle killing spree to begin arrives, he's beaten to the punch by another guy who's already killed off half the office. In a split-second, though, Bob chooses to use his own handgun to off the killer, sparing the life of the one girl, Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert), whom he'd planned to spare.
Fun little twist, and things get stranger as Bob goes from ignored, would-be pariah to national hero overnight. Vanessa, though, isn't so lucky: She's paralyzed from the neck down, and she hates Bob for not letting her die when she had the chance. The rest of the movie concerns the odd relationship that forms between the pair, while Bob becomes less and less comfortable with the immediate promotion he's given (to Vanessa's job, naturally) and the trappings of his morbid fame.
While Slater is uncomfortably ghoulish in the role (and William H. Macy steals his scenes as the company boss), it's Cuthbert who shines brightest. Playing far out of her usual ditz character, it's amazing to see what range Cuthbert can have if only you strap her into a wheelchair and forbid her to move.
He Was a Quiet Man devolves near the end, but it has enough memorable moments (a comic-turned-horrible karaoke sequence is a highlight) to merit a cautious recommendation. In an age of now-regular shooting sprees, it's easy to see why Quiet Man basically went straight to video despite the talent assembled (it opened on three screens in 2007), but its treatment of the subject is more interesting than most.
The DVD includes a commentary track, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.
Let's go back to my place and watch Gleaming the Cube.