Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: Blood Simple.

Blood Simple. (1984) is the very first film by the prolific and talented filmmaking entity known as the Coen Brothers. It sets the framework for just about every film they have made hence, both cinematically and story-wise. 
The story is the sort that has become the Coens' trademark; it is a simple tale that becomes complicated by misunderstanding and the inherent stupidity of the central characters. Ray (John Getz) and Abby (Frances McDormand, the quiet, sane center of the picture) are lovers, but Abby is married to Marty (Dan Hedaya, menacing and slightly Nixonesque), Ray's boss, who wants them dead, and hires a private eye (M. Emmett Walsh, in a role that would define his career) to off them. Some hesitation and panicking later, the wrong people are dead and things begin to spin gloriously off the rails.
Though made on a small budget by new filmmakers, Blood Simple. is masterfully shot and cut. The Coens show us only what needs be seen to tell the story. This is narrative filmmaking in it's purest form. The screen is dripping with dynamically lit close ups and insert shots. The virtuosity and economy of the cinematography and editing should be studied by any filmmaker, both aspirant and veteran.  
Blood Simple. is like a Tom Waits song. It bases it's universe around the down and out, the muling, simple creature of the American West, just trying to make sense of a very confusing world. 

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