Blood Simple Blu-ray Review
“Blood Simple” is a classic Coen Brothers film.
After having Private Eye Loren Visser trail his wife Abby, a bar owner (Marty) becomes consumed by jealousy when he learns that his wife is cheating on him with a bartender (Ray). Ray decides to take things one step further by hiring the PI to knock off Marty and Abby. That’s the story set-up and that’s all I will say to avoid spoilers.
Back in 1984, the Coen Brothers burst onto the film scene with their directorial debut “Blood Simple” and it’s certainly a debut for the ages. The Texas set neo-noir may be simple in story, but the slow burn thriller is pure indie movie magic. Not only is the short but sweet story about violence dripping with tension and atmosphere, but it’s expertly made. Virtually every frame of the movie is striking thanks to the creative minds of the Coen Brothers and the visual style of cinematography Barry Sonnenfeld (who we all know became an established director in his own right with films like “Men In Black”).
The cast is also to die for here. Frances McDormand (who was a newcomer at the time) gives a compelling performance as Abby, John Getz gives what is arguably a career best performance as Ray, and Dan Hedaya is great as the vile Marty. The real stand-out, however, is M. Emmet Walsh as the sleazy cowboy hat wearing Private Detective Loren Visser. There have been many great characters in Coen Brothers films over the years and Walsh’s Visser remains one of the finest.
Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? This new 4K digital transfer is as sharp as the knife stuck in Loren Visser’s hand. The shadowy scenes and colors really pop in hi-def.
Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It’s a bit soft in quieter dialogue moments, but this is still a good track nonetheless.
* A booklet featuring an essay by author/writer Nathaniel Rich.
* 3 “Blood Simple” trailers.
* Composer Carter Burwell and sound editor Skip Lievsay chat about music and sound in “Blood Simple,” the Coen Brothers, and so on.
* An insightful newly shot 25 minute interview with Frances McDormand who talks about the Coen Brothers, “Blood Simple,” behind-the-scenes stories, Holly Hunter, the auditioning process, and more.
* Another fascinating brand new interview with M. Emmet Walsh who talks about amusing set stories, his life, career, “Blood Simple,” etc. This one runs 16 minutes.
* “Shooting Blood Simple”- Film school folks should take notic of this one. Barry Sonnenfeld and the Coen Brothers provide a near feature length 70 minute visual commentary as they talk about shots, how scenes were made, set stories, etc.
* “Conversation With Dave Eggers”- Author Dave Eggers interviews the Coen Brothers for 35 minutes. Discussions range from “The Evil Dead” to investors. Good stuff.
Overall Thoughts: If you’ve never seen “Blood Simple” before, now is the perfect time to pick it up with this excellent Criterion edition.
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