Blood Simple


Reviewed by: The Exile

Blood Simple
"Brilliantly original."

Long before Fargo and The Big Lebowski made them household names, Joel and Ethan Coen were tweaking the noir sensibility with the brilliantly original 1984 Blood Simple. Since then, with their trademark tongue-in-cheek, self-effacing approach, the brothers have released a “digitally enhanced and tastefully restored” print with an ersatz expert delivering a fawning introduction.

Stylish and daring, this Texas tale of a jealous bar owner (Dan Hedaya), his philandering young wife (Frances McDormand) and her low-key lover (John Getz) whips along so quickly you’ll have to see it twice just to absorb the ingenuity of the editing. McDormand is perfect as the pallid, jittery wife facing a husband who refuses to die, a scummy detective (the indispensable M Emmet Walsh) who wants to kill her, and a lover who is more in the dark than the audience.

Copy picture

Then-unknown cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld (who went on to direct Men In Black) is clearly thrilled to participate in the Coen’s visual experiments; and as the camera veers around corners, charges across lawns and leaps over comatose drunks we see the inspiration for an ensuing generation of young film-makers.

Filled with whupping ceiling fans and tinny jukeboxes, surreal lighting and blood as black as Texas oil, Blood Simple is probably the best film of 1984. And watch out for Holly Hunter’s voice on the answering machine.

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2009
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Blood Simple packshot
A rich man hires a private detective to kill his wife and her lover, but things don't go quite to plan.
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Director: Joel Coen

Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Starring: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Year: 1984

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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