Blood Simple (1984)

“Summer of Film #8 of 100”:
There must have been a time when the Coen brothers’ films were described as noir, as dark comedies and people must have tried to come up with better and more accurate descriptions as every new movie threw their old adjectives out the window. Thankfully, we can now just call it a Coen brothers’ movie and hope you’ll understand what you are in for.

Of course, I’m assuming you’ve seen one before (one that was not Intolerable Cruelty, that is). If you haven’t, well you should- and Fargo or The Man Who Wasn’t There are good places to start. Blood Simple, however, is where the Coens got their start; and what a start it is.

The plot- like many of their movies- southern vistas with southern justice served to people who’s lives are entangled with cheating and murder with close to no scene playing out the way you would expect. Blood Simple stars Frances McDormand (Fargo) who is having an affair with John Getz while married to Dan Hedaya. What plays out is in the mold of the classical film noir with private detectives, murder-for-hire and the suspicion that everyone might be playing games with everyone else. The always entertaining (see “The Walsh-Stanton Rule”: M. Emmet Walsh plays the private detective who is the glue that holds the deception together.

The movie is all suspense and payoff until the spectacular-spectacular, only-in-a-Coen-brothers-film must be seen to be believed climax. This is where the Coen’s started with their trademark visual and story style (Barry Sonnenfeld is the DP on this one). In the words of Roger Ebert: “They build crazy walls with sensible bricks”:


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