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Blood Simple - Blu-ray / action and adventure DVD / arthouse and international DVD / mystery and suspense DVD / thriller DVD / drama DVD / comedy DVD / film noir DVD / Coen Brothers DVD review
BLOOD SIMPLE Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen Studio: MGM
DVD release: 30 August 2011 Runtime: 95 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 1.85:1, Audio tracks (English - DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish), Audio commentary (Kenneth Loring [fictional artistic director of "Forever Young Films," voiced by Jim Piddock, scripted by Coen Bros.), Theatrical trailer

*Blood Simple* Joel and Ethan Coen are well known, most recently for their gritty and amazing remake of True Grit. It takes major cajones to remake a beloved American classic, but to do it as well as they did and blow the original out of the water is amazing (all apologies to fans of The Duke).

Before True Grit, No Country for Old Men and Raising Arizona, the Coens cut their teeth with this startlingly impressive example of film noir. A rough definition of the genre: any film where all characters' fortunes deteriorate when they strive to improve them through any means necessary.

Ray (John Getz) works at Marty's sleazy bar. Marty (Dan Hedaya) is married to Abby (Frances McDormand). Suffice it to say Ray and Abby think they'd be a better couple than Marty and Abby. Marty suspects that something's awry and hires a sleazy private investigator named Loren (M. Emmet Walsh). After Loren confirms Marty's suspicions with sleazy photos taken in a sleazy motel, Marty hires Loren to kill Abby and Ray. Instead, Loren provides faked proof of murder, then turns the gun on Marty lest Loren be implicated - turn the evidence toward the young lovers in the murder of the sleazy bar owner, and his hands are clean. There are misunderstandings and coverups, but the blood keeps seeping through. The guilty most often receive just rewards at the end of a film noir, despite their best intentions.

*Blood Simple* The first time I saw Blood Simple, I was eager. I'd loved Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink and couldn't wait to see where the Coens started. I recall thinking 'meh' after that original viewing and hadn't seen it again since about 1992. I was eager for the opportunity to revisit it, wondering if maybe I'd missed something. I very well may have. I loved it this time around. It could be that the edits for the 15th-anniversary director's cut in 2000 effected the changes that made the film for me this time out, for that is the edition on this Blu-ray disc. It would have been nice to see both versions to compare, but I'm satisfied with this one.

The entire film is paced very well and sculpted from its basic components to produce a complex story, rich with intrigue and mystery. Almost every shot could be a first-class photograph: the hand dripping blood, the fish on the desk obscuring the lighter, the lights of the car on the field running across the plow's furrows. Simply amazing. The ending is delicious, and I'm thrilled that I know something that no one left alive knows... what really happened.

Extra features include commentary by "Kenneth Loring" (a Coen Bros. alias; allegedly the artistic director of "Forever Young Films," voiced by Jim Piddock following a Coen-scripted commentary) and a theatrical trailer of the film.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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