Monday, July 19, 2010

Blood Simple

One of my favorite young directors tweeted once that “Memento is a pretty goddamn humbling movie” and he’s right. Well, I just watched Blood Simple for the first time and I have to say that what the Coen’s did is pretty damn humbling as well. While the film may have “simple” in the title, the film is anything but; Blood Simple is a stark noir, filled with characters we can’t trust and is a downright exercise in minimalism.

I know that the Coen’s got Blood Simple made because of sheer determination. I’ve heard stories of where they showed clips of test footage in people’s living rooms as fund raisers, taped Frances McDormand into camera rigging for special shots, and just generally did everything short of selling their souls for their first feature.

The effort paid off.

I watch Blood Simple and I miss the days when independent film wasn’t its own market. When determination, style and talent could get your farther than a budget and a known cast. While that’s not completely gone from the indy market of today, the indy market is much more main stream now than it is independent. Watching Blood Simple reminds me of a much more pure way of making your passion films.

The single thing that characterizes Blood Simple more than anything else is how stark the film is. The setting are bleak, empty and harsh as is the situation they are all thrown into. While the plot may revolve around Abby having left her husband Marty, we never wonder which one of the two is more at fault for their rift – Abby is the adultrus wife, but Marty is the crazed, abusive husband and no one around them is clean.

It’s plain and simple to see watching this film how the Coen’s turned into Oscar winners. Their imagination and vision has always been unique and different. They are filmmakers that from the very start had great stories to tell.

Directors & Writers: Joel & Ethan Coen
Ray: John Getz
Abby: Frances McDormand
Marty: Dan Hedaya
Private Detective: M. Emmet Walsh

Private Detective:The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... you're on your own.

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