Blood Simple. (1984)
Reviewed on 2012 March 1
This is a broody piece set deep in Texas, about adultery, murder, and double-crossing. It’s almost as dark as No Country for Old Men, and almost as good too.
Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya), a strip bar owner, has the worst kind of employee problem. His wife Abby (Frances McDormand) is sleeping with Ray (John Getz), a taciturn guy who has the nerve to insist that his boss give him his two weeks back pay, even though the boss knows about the affair. I think the sullen (though handsome) Ray would get old after a while, but Abby plainly married the unpleasant Julian for his money.
Julian is not going to take this lightly. He hires Loren Visser (M. Emmett Walsh), a seedy, scruffy-looking private detective, to put an end to it once and for all. Visser is more rancid than a jar of old Chinese mayonnaise, and soon an unfaithful wife is the least of his problems.
I knew I’d like this from the opening shots, with Walsh coldly delivering the first lines over eerie shots of the lonely Texas plains. This is the first Coen Brothers movie feature film, and I’ve been a fan since. Mr. Shukti isn’t as much of a Coen Brothers fan as I am, but we both appreciated this gritty noir. It’s not a funny piece like Raising Arizona. It’s plain nasty, though the last lines are a bit of a shaggy dog kind of joke. M. Emmet Walsh was great as the amoral private detective.
Three chocolate morsels.