Blood Simple (SE)/ B+,A-
Universal/1983/96/ANA 1.85

    Blood Simple, the dark, sharp film noir debut of the Coen Brothers, stands test of time with its macabre humor in tact. The origins are pure noir with an extra twist of Coen Brothers vision. Characters are viewed through a slightly skewed lens, emphasizing the warts and scars. Despite the twists and turns, the Coens keep the wheels of this vehicle glued to the road assuring a very smooth movie ride.

The dead fish offer up the cleanest smell. ŠUniversal

   It's a classic noir situation. A bar owner in a nowhere town with a dissatisfied wife, a bartender easy prey for the sexual appetites of the wife, and a private detective dragged onto the scene to clean up the situation. 
    Every character is as shady as drink with a bitter aftertaste. Despite the fact that you can't sympathize with anyone, the Coens maintain a light energy that prevents any bitterness from spoiling the experience. There are films where dark and unsympathetic characters simply ruin the proceedings, but happily, Blood Simple overpowers the shortcomings of its characters.
    The wonderful camera work on Barry Sonnenfeld is on display in Blood Simple. Quirky lighting and signature tracking shots and angles bend the camera style to the script treatment. Carter Burwell's chords are on hand to complete the mood.
     John Getz isn't much to speak of in the role of Ray, but his bland demeanor emphasizes the garish aspects of Marty and he beds down well with the always solid Frances McDormand. M. Emmett Walsh has a field day with the dirty detective. 
     A very dark film, Blood Simple on DVD looks better than I have ever seen it. Even viewed on a new 16 x 9 DLP projector, the overall shadow balance is outstanding and the blacks are dark enough to maintain the mood and look of the film. The image is consistently sharp. The details of the fish laying across Marty's desk are clear enough to catch a hint of the smell. Colors are very stable and consistent. Blood Simple delivers the DVD goods with a devious twist of delight.
    And now for something completely different. a special edition featuring a faux audio commentary. Kenneth Loring of Forever Young Films makes a mockery of technical film observations with an hilarious scene specific spoof. 







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