Joel and Ethan Coen are two of the most unique film-makers working in American cinema today. They burst onto the scene with Fargo and The Big Lebowski and have never looked back. They’ve subsequently had hits with O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, Hail, Caesar and Inside Llewyn Davis. However, whilst their earlier work is much less well-known, it’s definitely worth hunting out. Their first film Blood Simple is a riveting crime drama.
Marty (Dan Hedaya) is a nasty piece of work and Abby (Frances McDormand) really wants out of their marriage. That’s where Ray (John Getz), a bartender at Marty Texas bar, comes in. He’s having an affair with Abby and they’re planning on running away together. Marty is no mug though, hiring a private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to spy on them. When he receives proof of Abby’s adultery, he pays to have them killed. He might want to be more careful who he trusts though.
Blood Simple is all about the double-cross. The Coens’ debut is beautifully written, directed and acted. The cinematography by Barry Sonnenfeld is stunning and the script’s twists and turns keep you guessing until the end. It’s a noir in the purist sense of the word, but instead of looking backwards to the classics of the ‘40s and ‘50s, Blood Simple is innovative and forward thinking. It’s laid down a marker for what was to follow.
Blood Simple Director’s Cut is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and EST by Studiocanal on 30 October.