Directed by the Coen brothers
1984, USA, 99 minutes.
The Coen brother’s first film is dark, mean, and ballsy. Before their films were perennial Oscar mainstays and highbrow blockbusters, they were unknown indie darlings, and Blood Simple established them.
The phrase “blood simple” refers to the confused, primal behaviour of people trapped in the middle of a prolonged violent situation, which is only partially understood by the people trapped because of their aforementioned confusion. That’s exactly what Blood Simple is—a prolonged violent situation, chronically misunderstood by the cast of basically selfish people.
The neo-noir action starts when Abby (Frances McDormand) leaves her husband, bar owner Julian (Dan Hedaya) for his employee Ray (John Getz). Julian arranges for a private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to murder the pair, and events go downhill from there. Watching the action unfold is sort of like watching Texas hold ‘em on TV: none of the players is quite sure about everyone else’s cards or how smart their bets are, but the audience is privy to every misbegotten bluff.