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Film / He Was a Quiet Man

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He Was a Quiet Man is a 2007 drama film written and directed by Frank Cappello, starring Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, and William H. Macy.

Bob Maconel (Slater) is an office drone who fantasizes about killing his co-workers with the gun he keeps in his desk. One day, after loading his gun and dropping a bullet, Maconel hears gunshots being fired; the man in the cubicle beside him, Ralf Coleman, has apparently gone postal. After a brief conversation, Maconel guns down Coleman and becomes a hero, also saving the life of Venessa (Cuthbert), although she is rendered quadriplegic by the bullet that hit her. Even as Maconel is hailed as a hero, gets promoted to upper management by his boss (Macy), and slowly wins over Venessa, he can't help but feel out of place in this world.

Not to be confused with The Quiet Man.


This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Accidental Hero: Bob Maconel was planning on Going Postal in his office building, but a similarly maladjusted co-worker beats him to it by roughly a minute. Bob shoots the co-worker with the gun he was carrying at that moment, and is suddenly hailed by his company and the media as a hero.
  • Counting Bullets:
    • An understated version at the beginning of the film. Maconel counts the number of shots he fires, six. This reveals the ending, because he'd dropped one of his six bullets and never retrieved it.
    • Both Maconel and Coleman reveal that they planned on saving the sixth bullet for themselves, but never got a chance to use it.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Venessa becomes one for Maconel after she loses the use of her legs as a result of the office shooting and is confined to a wheelchair, in part because he feels guilty first that he didn't save her from being shot and later that he couldn't finish the job.
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  • Dying Dream: In the cinematic ending, and in one of the alternate endings, it's revealed that the whole thing is a dying dream, either from Maconel shooting himself in the head, or being shot.
  • Going Postal: Maconel was planning to do this at the beginning. He's beaten to the punch by his co-worker, but ends up killing the co-worker with the gun he brought himself and is unexpectedly hailed as a hero by his bosses.
  • Imaginary Friend: Bob's only friend is his pet fish. Who talks to him.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Even after he's hailed as a hero, people still see Maconel and his antisocial behavior and recoil from him.
  • Significant Anagram: Maconel (the protagonist) and Coleman (the co-worker Going Postal in the beginning), hinting that Coleman is merely a figment of Maconel's imagination.