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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Blood Simple': A Gripping 80's-Era Neo-Noir Thriller from the Esteemed Coen Brothers

Movie poster for the film Blood Simple starring Frances McDormand and John Getz

The first feature-length film from Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, No Country For Old Men), “Blood Simple” (1984) is a razor-sharp thriller that finds a wealthy businessman named Julian (Dan Hedaya) hiring a greasy private detective, Visser (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill his wife Abby (Frances McDormand) and her lover Ray (John Getz), after his own attempts to do so end in failure and humiliation.

With his own agenda in play, Visser photographs Abby and Ray in bed together, then proffers a photograph to Julian that has been doctored to indicate that they are dead. Sickened yet darkly satisfied, Julian offers his reward to Visser, only for Visser to turn on him in a moment of treachery—setting off a cascading series of misreads and double-crosses as the remaining parties scramble to cover their tracks and avoid recrimination.

A darkly twisted neo-noir escapade from the venerable Coen Brothers at the beginning of a long and celebrated dual-career, “Blood Simple” is a unique and wildly inventive modern classic. Highly recommended to fans of darkly suspenseful mystery-thrillers, "Blood Simple" is a quintessential sleeper film especially worthy of newfound discovery.


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