IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH THE COEN BROTHERS REVIEW: “Blood Simple” is our first stop in this fun marathon. It stars John Getz (The Fly, Zodiac), Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous), Dan Hedaya (The Usual Suspects, Commando), M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner, Christmas with the Kranks), and Samm-Art Williams (Hot Resort, Dressed to Kill). It is written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (both worked on No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski). When a rich bar owner named Marty (Hedaya) suspects that his wife, Abby (McDormand), is cheating on him, he hires a private investigator (Walsh) to murder her and her new lover. Little does he know that once this happens, several events are set into motion that go against his favor.
Being the first film directed by the Coen brothers, I was expecting a crude entry. It’s what to expect from first-time directors. But, I was surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Coen brothers’ work, even though I have only seen three of their directorial works, but I didn’t imagine that they would make such a nice movie right off the bat. A little trivia for those of you who don’t know, the Coen brothers shopped around this idea for a flick to several potential investors, with a two-minute video for it in hand, and were able to gross the amount of money it would take to make the picture. That was some interesting information I recently found. Anyway, onto this review. Watching this on blu-ray, the movie had an introduction inserted in what seems to be from the mid-2000’s of a man telling us of how I was watching an edited version of the film. I was furious. Supposedly, he said that they stripped out footage to make it not seem slow, and what they thought, made it better. What I didn’t know until after the movie was that only three minutes were taken off and it was to the judgment of the Coen brothers in order to create quicker cuts with more of an impact, so it eased my wrong thoughts. This is a short movie, at least in my opinion. The story is in your face the whole time and it really plunges you into the dilemma once the first scene rolls. With a well-thought-out script and great directing, you are able to tell the situation without having to read a plot summary or a synopsis. I really liked the intensity and tension of this story and how once a devious plot is hatched, many walls are broken down and everything crumbles into pieces. It’s a tale full of consequences and a noir at that. Having watched “Chinatown” recently, I was edging to get back into that noir-type world, and I received a good show. The acting was awesome, and everyone did a fantastic job. I didn’t expect to see Emmet Walsh in this, having seen him in “Christmas with the Kranks” pretty much every year around Christmas time. It was interesting to see the role he played in. Everyone else were notable as well. The directing was top-notch, and I loved all of the different camera angles to tell this story. Certain scenes impressed me, like how Abby was looking off in the bar and suddenly fell down, landing on a bed to show that it was night-time. That type of directing inspires me. Another thing that was great about this film was how scary it was. Not in a horror genre sense, but sometimes this movie got to me, especially the farm scene. I’m not going to spoil anything, but that had to be one of the most spookiest and chilling scenes I have seen in a film this year. It felt like dominos were falling over in this, several things being set in place to produce the finale of this dark storyline. I enjoyed that feeling because it shows how talented the writing and directing can be, and when a plot becomes a jigsaw puzzle where pieces begin to fit together to make something, it creates something great. When discussing cons, I think they mainly have to do with the story alone, and I found two major ones. WARNING: THE NEXT SENTENCES CONTAINS SPOILERS! The first would be how the private investigator, Loren Visser, killed Marty. There were no reasons for it whatsoever. I thought by the end of it he would explain why he spared Abby and Ray (Getz), but he didn’t, so I’m left wondering why he would double-cross Marty. The last con would be how Marty ended up being alive after he was shot. When Ray was driving him out to bury him and he woke up, I was confused. It was unexpected and totally uncalled for. The moment made the film lose reality in a way. Marty was supposed to be dead, especially where he was shot, which was in the chest. It made no sense to bring him back to life, even though it provided the chilling scene I talked about earlier. END OF SPOILERS. Overall, I found this to be a great directing debut for the Coen brothers. Sure, the story could have had some tweaking done to it, but I found everything else to be terrific, especially the directing. This is a great start to this marathon, and if you have not seen this movie before, I would recommend you try it. FINAL SCORE: 85%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: