Movie Review: Blood Simple (1985)

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Drama
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Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) is a dour bar owner who suspects his wife Abby (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with one of his employees, Ray (John Gertz) Marty hires a private eye (M Emmet Walsh) and offers him 10,000 dollars to kill Ray and Abby and burn their bodies in the incinerator, behind his bar.  Because the detective is unscrupulous, he doctors some pictures that show Abby and Ray dead, and shoots Marty, who doesn’t quite die.  Ray sneaks into the bar, takes the gun that the private eye left behind, and buries Marty alive.  Is Marty dead?  Now that Ray has the private eye’s gun, what happens next?

If you’re expecting a Coen Brothers comedy like the Big Lebowski, or Fargo, or Burn After Reading, this movie is not it. This movie is dark, and dead serious.  Just look into Dan Hedeya’s eyes.  He is a guy not to be messed with.  He is one scary dude. Yet is the laughing, joking private eye who may be the stone cold killer, and that’s the really scary part.  Hedaya is spot on as the betrayed husband, he is seething, the viewer can see his anger seeping out of every pore, but how does he vent that anger.  The private detective is Marty’s vessel.  M Emmet Walsh is also excellent as the wily private detective, who is initially motivated by money, but then he’s motivated purely by self-preservation.  Frances McDormand is very convincing as the wife petrified of her husband and convinced that he’s still alive, and tracks her down.  She also does a great Texas accent.  Only John Gertz disappoints, he’s trying too hard to be the sensitive sex symbol, shirt off, trying to be the protector, but tormented by what he’s done to Marty, This is a very deep, dark, chilling movie.

Blood Simple.  Simply great.


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