Set in the picturesque landscapes of rural France, The Man in the Hat (played by Game of Thrones star Ciarán Hinds) journeys across the country in his Fiat 500 with nothing but a framed photo of an unknown woman on the passenger’s seat. After witnessing what seems to be something of a criminal nature, he takes off and starts the adventure of a lifetime, however, he is somewhat ‘followed’ by the Five Angry Men in a Citroën Dyane. The cars, along with the jaunty french music, gives quite a nostalgic feel, and brings back memories of when good old Mr Bean was back on our screens in 2007 with Mr Bean’s Holiday. Albeit he had a yellow Mini, and not a blue Fiat 500, but it was nostalgic and similar nonetheless.
Written and directed by John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck, The Man in the Hat is a weird and wonderful yet wacky piece of comical entertainment. With the majority of the film focusing on the music and the stunning visuals, the film itself is like looking at a piece of art. The stunning landscapes, sceneries and colourful views draw you into this ‘silent’ film. And even without much dialogue, it doesn’t take you that long to start putting the pieces of this one man’s epic journey together.
During his odyssey across the French countryside, The Man in the Hat meets unique people like a mysterious woman he keeps bumping into on her bicycle (played by Sasha Hails), as well as The Damp Man (played by Stephen Dillane, also from Game of Thrones, The Tunnel) – a depressed looking man who is wet from head to toe. Even though there isn’t much interaction between the two men, their characters are constantly meeting, and together they draw you in to their own individual stories, giving you a sense of intrigue and wonder. The film is funny, intimate and very well made and both Hinds and Dillane are exceptionally good, even without much to say at all.
Along the way he is constantly seeing the Five Angry Men and assumes they’re here for him, chasing him through French towns and cities until their final destination – where the truth is finally revealed and he can once again, breathe. The music is incredibly catchy, upbeat and harmoniously orchestrated, especially considering it’s one of the main focus points of the entire film. The film however, feels very cringe-worthy at times and some scenes were dull and definitely not needed. It was also a little slow-paced and lagged from time to time. But on the whole, it makes for pleasant viewing, with the odd laugh or two with generally a lot of smiles all round.