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USA 1984
Directed by
Joel Coen
97 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Blood Simple

The debut film for the Coen Brothers set in the mythic heartland of America, Texas, tells of twisted love, revenge and criminal doings as crummy bar owner, Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya), hires an even crummier private detective (a memorable performance by M. Emmett Walsh as one of the scummiest screen villains of all time) to bump off his unfaithful wife (Frances McDormand, the wife of the director and to be seen in many subsequent Coen films) and her lover, one of his bartenders (John Getz).

The gruesome chain of events that follows is distinguished by the Coen's skilful writing and their trademark taste for macabre humour that would re-surface again notably in Fargo. Although perhaps a little too slowly paced, particularly when it comes to John Getz's laconic Ray, and Frances McDormand's Abby is a little too wholesome to be mixed up in such a low-rent world, it is a cleverly economical work (photographed by Barry Sonnenfeld) that never betrays its limited budget and also looks forward to Quentin Tarentino's pop-fuelled genre work-outs and across to David Lynch's more persistent preoccupation with the darkness lurking in the American heartland.

DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer & Stills gallery




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