Blood Simple (Joel Coen, 1984)

Adultery, paid killings, mistrust between lovers, bodies that just won’t die, and double, triple, and quadruple-crossings: all part of a plot that makes absolutely no sense on first viewing and yet feels completely natural and real in the world presented to us.  Ah, the wonderful enigma that is a Coen Brothers film.  It’s their first film, and you can tell, what with the particular attention to visual detail and what-not (not to mention their signature pitch-black humor and wit that makes its subdued introduction here), but all their m.o.’s from future films are here, namely good versus evil and how committing crimes or evil never goes the way you expect, and never turns out well for anybody involved.  That looong death scene (which obviously I won’t reveal) is case-in-point: so brutal to watch, for the audience and both parties involved, yet so exquisite in its execution so that you can’t look away.  And that finale’s just about as terrifying as a climax involving a slimy private detective and an adulterous bar owner’s wife can get (with M. Emmet Walsh making an absolutely perfect villain, just enough greed and slime and terror to make way for No Country‘s Anton Chigurh).  The movie’s an outstanding example of using a small budget to make a great combination between outstanding visual technique and a complex story that needs to be examined more than once, and you can easily see what’s to come out of the Coen Brothers.


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