In almost all aspects of life, someone’s first attempt at something new usually does not yield the best of results. Try to bake some brownies, they end up burnt; try to write a story, it doesn’t become a master work; hell, I’ll bet even some of the most revered porn stars sucked in bed the first couple of times. Most people just do not hit a home run on their first “at bat.”
But, then again, the Coen Brothers aren’t most people.
In 1984, Joel and Ethan directed a film called Blood Simple based on a screenplay they both had written. Cut to 36 years later and they are still regarded as one of the greatest writing/directing duos the film business has ever seen.
The plot of Blood Simple is, on the surface, just that: simple. A bar owner named Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) hires private investigator Loren (M. Emmet Walsh) to follow his wife, Abby (Francis McDormand), whom he suspects is cheating on him. Upon receiving evidence confirming his suspicions and showing that the man she’s sleeping with is one of his employees by the name of Ray (John Getz), Marty goes through the emotional roller coaster that follows such an event. Eventually it all becomes too much for Marty and he decides to contact Loren again, this time to murder both Abby and Ray. Greed, deceipt, and a general lack of communication causes this “simple” plan to spiral out of control, resulting in bonds broken and lives lost.
This is a movie that is successful on two distinct levels. Simply as a stand-alone film it succeeds by being well written, well shot (kudos to Director of Photography Barry Sonnenfeld), and containing well crafted (though universally flawed) characters. To those who don’t know the Coen Brothers from the Mario Brothers, this film would still make for an enjoyable and thrilling watch.
However, what makes this film special in another way is knowing how far those two brothers have come since putting these images to celluloid. Watching Blood Simple is akin to watching the architects lay the framework to the Statue of Liberty (only entertaining). There is something special about these guys that you can still sense from the moment the opening image hits the screen. Sure, the gift of hindsight makes for a stronger case, but there is no denying the evident connecting feeling bridging this film and the rest of their accomplished catalogue that followed. From their ability to make you emotionally connect to the most vile of characters to their brilliant choices for accompanying music, the Coen Brothers did the whole “making a movie” thing right the first time out and have kept right on doing it ever since.
I give Blood Simple 4 out of 5. Watch This Movie on Putlocker.