Monday, March 1, 2010

#18-Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple

Similarly to Ellen Page starring in Hardy Candy before being famous, the Coen brothers wrote and directed this film before they were famous. Infact, Blood Simple is what launched them into superstardom. Maybe not with audiences, but after their first film, they had already caught the attention of professional critics across the board. And now, nearly 26 years later, the brothers have yet to make a bad film.

Now, the Coen brothers have three basic genres that they seem to work in. It is strange because the genres are so different, yet they can do good as easily as one as in the other. The first genre that they can work in, is what they work in with Blood Simple, the straight thriller. Next up is what they followed Blood Simple with, the straight comedy, much like Raising Arizona. Their third and final genre is my personal favorite to see them work in. The Comedy-Thriller, such as Fargo. Part of what they do so well is writing. They continue to produce highly original screenplays for their films, and then pull them off in a simply awe inspiring tone.

Abby is cheating on her saloonkeeper husband, Marty. The object of her affections is Ray, one of Marty's bartenders. Marty hires Visser, an unscrupulous detective, to kill them. But Visser has other, more lucrative plans of his own. So begins a calculating round of double and triple crosses, that will have you not only questioning the characters sanity, but your own, as you try and figure out who is really after who.

"You're the idgit!"

Firstly, the writing (again) is terrific. And through a number of differnt circumstances, the Coen's have begun to have to split up duties on the credits. Joel typically gets directing credits, and Ethan usually gets productin credits, and they share the writing, though they both help in each category. I feel that the writing for the film is very strong, but the direction needs some help. I think compared to some other Coen films, Blood Simple is one of the weaker, simply because they haven't quite worked out their game plan at this point. Other technical aspects of the film are wonderous however, with great cinematography, and an excellent score from Carter Burwell.

The acting here is something to behold as well. It is one of the first prominent roles for Frances McDormand. She is excellent here, as she always seems to be, and is even better in one of the best Coen films Fargo. We also get very nice performances from John Getz and Dan Hedaya. But, you cannot talk about this film, without talking about the amazing performance from M. Emmet Walsh. Walsh then, is the equivalent to Javier Bardem now. He's a great actor, but here he especially shines, just because he is so creepy.

Simply put (hah, simply Blood Simple, hah) Blood Simple is a film to see. The Coen Brothers are amazing in writing, as they always are, but do suffer quite a bit in the direction department. Technical nuances, such as the score and cinematography stand out noticably, and for exactly the right reasons. Not to mention good performances from John Getz, and Dan Hedaya. A great one from Fraces McDormand. And one of the best in screen history from M. Emmet Walsh. Plus, what could be the most intense final climax I've seen in film, in a very, very long time.

I Give Blood Simple A:

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