1984   USA Blood Simple
Blood Simple Image Cover
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Director:Joel Coen
Studio:Universal Studios
Writer:Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
IMDb Rating:7.8 (33,181 votes)
Awards:4 wins & 5 nominations
Genre:Crime, Drama, Thriller
Duration:96 min
Joel Coen  ...  (Director)
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen  ...  (Writer)
John Getz  ...  Ray
Frances McDormand  ...  Abby
Dan Hedaya  ...  Julian Marty
M. Emmet Walsh  ...  Loren Visser (private detective)
Samm-Art Williams  ...  Meurice
Deborah Neumann  ...  Debra
Raquel Gavia  ...  Landlady
Van Brooks  ...  Man from Lubbock
Señor Marco  ...  Mr. Garcia
William Creamer  ...  Old cracker
Loren Bivens  ...  Strip-bar exhorter
Bob McAdams  ...  Strip-bar exhorter
Shannon Sedwick  ...  Stripper
Nancy Finger  ...  Girl on overlook
William Preston Robertson  ...  Radio evangelist (voice)
Barry Sonnenfeld  ...  Cinematographer
Joel Coen  ...  Editor
Ethan Coen  ...  Editor
Don Wiegmann  ...  Editor
Summary: The debut film of director Joel Coen and his brother-producer Ethan Coen, 1983's Blood Simple is grisly comic noir that marries the feverish toughness of pulp thrillers with the ghoulishness of even pulpier horror. (Imagine the novels of Jim Thompson somehow fused with the comic tabloid Weird Tales, and you get the idea.) The story concerns a Texas bar owner (Dan Hedaya) who hires a seedy private detective (M. Emmett Walsh) to follow his cheating wife (Frances McDormand in her first film appearance), and then kill her and her lover (John Getz). The gumshoe turns the tables on his client, and suddenly a bad situation gets much, much worse, with some violent goings-on that are as elemental as they are shocking. (A scene in which a character who has been buried alive suddenly emerges from his own grave instantly becomes an archetypal nightmare.) Shot by Barry Sonnenfeld before he became an A-list director in Hollywood, Blood Simple established the hyperreal look and feel of the Coens' productions (undoubtedly inspired a bit by filmmaker Sam Raimi, whose The Evil Dead had just been coedited by Joel). Sections of the film have proved to be an endurance test for art-house movie fans, particularly an extended climax that involves one shock after another but ends with a laugh at the absurdity of criminal ambition. This is definitely one of the triumphs of the 1980s and the American independent film scene in general. --Tom Keogh

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