I’m sure that Blood Simple is’nt perfect, but I cant think of anything wrong with it. It’s a thriller that is as convoluted as a Mexican election but presents nary an inconsistency or implausibility. After seeing films like Arlington Road and Along Came a Spider, which fail to hold together perhaps half the complexity of this film, Blood Simple is just a joy.
In order to illustrate, I must spoil, so be forewarned. My favorite scene is of Ray burying Julian. Ray thinks that Abby has shot Julian, although the PI has. He had also thought Julian was dead, although he isn’t, so he buries Julian alive to protect Abby. Julian must be surprised to see Ray, who he thinks has been murdered by the PI. Mid-way through, Julian pulls out the gun that Ray left in his pocket, back when he thought Julian was dead. Everyone thinks the tables have turned, although they haven’t because when Julian pulls the trigger nothing happens, leading us to wonder whether or not the gun is loaded (we know it had three bullets at some point and has been fired once, but we don’t know what else has happened between those two events.) Then it seems like Ray’s car won’t start because he’s left the headlights on to light his work, although it eventually does start. All of this sounds like a month’s worth of “Days of our Lives” episodes, but the Coens pull it off completely smoothly and the direction of the scene is the cat’s fucking pajamas. Meanwhile, some films can’t even get a basic legal principle like double jeopardy right.
On top of the amazingly well plotted story, this film offers good acting all around, although Walsh is a stand out. The humor and texture that make the Coens great are here too, but the wackiness is subdued. Excellent photography, an excellent score–like I said, I can’t think of anything wrong with this one.
Here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Samm-Art Williams went on to craft some timeless drama of his own as a writer and producer for the shows “Martin” and “Fresh Prince of Bell Air.”
The commentary is the best I’ve ever heard. I’ll implore you to listen to it and leave it at that. The production notes are pretty good. Other than that, there’s the usual trailer and stuff. Although I hear the disc does not live up to the standards of hardcore A/V types, the picture looks quite good to me–much better than the video and with this film, the picture matters.
- Film Overall 10
- Direction 10
- Story 10
- Acting 7.5
- DVD Goodies 10