Monday, July 21, 2014

Movie of the Week – Blood Simple.

This week’s movie: Blood Simple. (1984)

Ray and Abby are having an affair. Abby’s husband Julian Marty suspects something is afoot and hires private detective Loren Visser to kill Ray. When murder is involved, however, things are never simple.

Blood Simple is auteurs the Coen Brothers’ first film, launching their illustrious career. They worked with composer Carter Burwell, cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, and production designer Jane Musky (all of whom would return for Raising Arizona, their next film).

The film stars John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh, and Samm-Art Williams. Frequent Coen Brothers collaborator Holly Hunter’s voice also makes a cameo appearance.

In typical Coen Brothers fashion, the filmmakers twist and subvert their targeted genre (being film noir) with Blood Simple. In some ways it feels like a German Expressionist film, as it almost plays like a horror film by the end – the Coen Brothers taking full advantage of the wonderful contrast and shadows cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld achieves. They take what is a simple story and turn it into a character piece, thriller, and horror film in different moments. Their great dark sense of humor is present as well. The film does not feel quite as polished as their later work, but it certainly has all the traits that define them as excellent filmmakers. It is a must-see for fans of the Coen Brothers. And, just for fun, here is my ranking of their films from best to worst: The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, Fargo, True Grit, Miller’s Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, A Serious Man, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Inside Llewyn Davis, Blood Simple, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Barton Fink, Burn After Reading, Raising Arizona, Intolerable Cruelty, and The Ladykillers.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray

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