Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blood Simple. A-

As the man speaking at the beginning of the film tells us, things aren't going to go smoothly in 'Blood Simple,' the first movie made by the Coen brothers. Set in out in the rural plaines of Texas, the story centers around a wife who's cheating on her husband, who then hires an investigator to murder her and her boyfriend. But of course nothing goes as planned as one major surprise turns up after another. I'm praising 'Blood Simple' chiefly for its suspense. It's a movie that knows how to scare the audience because we know that it will take any risks, as implausible as they may be. The movie of course has problems. Technically it's not on par with the brothers' later work. But of course, with the budget they had, this is expected. Also it's clear that the movie's timing is flawed compared to, say, 'No Country for Old Men.' Just consider the placement of the characters' screen time. When we think attention should be given to a certain person they don't get. I suppose this also is due to the slim 90 minutes that the movie has to tell its story. I mentioned 'No Country for Old Men,' which probably bears more resemblance to 'Blood Simple' than any of the Coens' other films. Both stories are set in Texas and both feature unscrupulous bounty hunters, terrifying in their own different ways. It's strange to think that when 'Blood Simple' came out, nobody knew who Joel and Ethan Coen were. It may be their first film, but to me it's one of their best. And again, all flaws are forgiven simply because they're expected. This is a movie that's meant to thrill the audience and the Coens' manage that feat like they're established pros at the top of their game.

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