Dir. Joel Coen
Scr. Joel Coen/Ethan Coen
Release Date: January 18, 1985
This is exactly what I loved about having free reign. I saw this title and said, "Sure. I'll see that." Whatever. "Blood Simple." No idea what it meant. And then… well, if you've never seen the first feature-length movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, it's dark, dark fun. There are some laughs, but they are the nervous laugh of the guilty as The Coens spring this trap they call a film, and I remember going back the next day to see it again to see if it really was as amazing as I thought it was. And it was.
The elements they played with were rudimentary. A husband. A wife. Jealousy. A private detective. Betrayal. Murder. And more murder. And more murder. These stark morality tales are the exact kind of fiction I was reading at the time, the Jim Thompson, the older guys, the foundation guys like Hammett and Chandler and Gardner and Parker. And I ate it up with a spoon. I thought the way this movie looked was crazy. Like some sort of weird dream. It's a beautiful little movie about a shitty little "crime spree." Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, John Getz, and M. Emmett Walsh all bring their A-game to this material, a case of everyone being on one wavelength, and a debut film making a promise that the Coens continue to fulfill.