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Blood Simple

Before the Coen brothers became one of the most popular names in filmmaking, they were only known for producing films like Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. However, once a script surfaced and a budget was formed, the Coen brothers were able to get their first feature film onto the market without too much trouble. The directorial debut and final product, Blood Simple, would later lead to a career of even greater filmmaking.

The story, as the title suggest, starts out rather simply. A tavern owner, enraged by the discovery of his wife's infidelity, hires a private investigator to further spy on his wife, as well as her secret lover. However, events soon go sour as the investigator betrays his employer and sets out to finish his former employer's final request - to kill the woman and her secret flame.

The characters are all pretty interesting in Blood Simple, but I felt the film was too cold-hearted during its first act. Because of how cold the film first came off, it was difficult to really like or connect with any of these characters. I realize the film isn't exactly about characters you're supposed to relate with, but the narrative flow really made it difficult to get immersed into the story of Blood Simple. Still, by the time the first half hour's over, you'll eventually find yourself immersed into the film one way or another.

I thought the visuals were especially interesting, as they seemed to contain a hint of Raimi's style. This is more than likely due to the Coens' not yet having developed their own style, but the visuals still hold up really well. One of the best shots, in my opinion, has to be the shot of Marty dragging himself down the road, having previously been shot through the chest. It's such a painstaking and messy scene, with the camera kind of gruesomely lingering on the whole sight. This, along with several other scenes, possibly make Blood Simple one of the Coens' darkest films ever.

The pacing has a nice slow feel to it, never getting to the point of dragging during this narrative of bloody suspicion. It started out kind of hard to like, as I mentioned earlier, but this is more to blame on how cold-hearted the film felt thematically than any error on the pacing's part.

Another thing to note about Blood Simple is how symbolic the film is. Along with their later film, Barton Fink, this is probably one of the Coens' more symbolic films to date. For insatnce, many, many times is it visually-suggested that the private investigator is, whether literally or metaphorically, the devil. From the shots of "the devil" near the incinerator behind the local tavern to how malicious the character himself is, it's hints like these that can help make a film enjoyable to watch and deconstruct.

Blood Simple isn't the Coen brothers' best film, nor is it that great of a film, but the characters, visuals, and symbolic nature keep the film an interesting, and thrilling, look on neo-noir film.





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