Entertaining but largely forgettable neo-noir. Music is a high point (piano tracks, Four Tops!). Acting is hit/miss, and most all of the characters are in need of serious development. Some very cool shots/transitions and color usage. Actions over explanations are appreciated. A competent thriller with definite mood, but nothing mind-blowing.
The further trouble with Harry...Terse and economical for the most part, this is a sure-handed farcical excursion into seediness and desperation. Yet for all the technical flair it remains an exercise in plot mechanics at the expense of anything approaching interesting characterisation, let alone people you care about.
Essentially takes the aspect of existentialism that is 'lies passing into truth, and truth passing into lies' and makes it the basis for the movie. Aside from other light existentialist allusions, there's remarkably little to say about it, except for remarking upon the strength of the presentation, both in acting and visual respects. And it is strong in those respects. Otherwise, it's simple, absurdist pulp.
The first 40 minutes delivers a usual noir setup, and is not interesting or unique, but it's a misdirection. While Blood Simple doesn't ignite in creativity and suspense until the halfway point, it then delivers Hitchcock-like twists and tension-filled set pieces. Really, its only problem is this first half, that other than being ordinary, also doesn't give its characters depth outside of monomania.
The Coen's 1st real film, this neonoir feast of raw nerves serves as a sampler of their themes and styles to be...A good first glimpse at some of their best tropes (absurd/grotesque situations, snappy dialogue, Frances McDormand), this 1st off ering has one major flaw, to my eyes..none of the characters are particularly interesting..unlike so many Coen characters, nobody here strikes me as sympathetic and/or unique,
The Coen brothers debut feature only seems to get better with age. It's pulpy premise and near film-noir pretensions work in its favour keeping the viewer enthralled and in suspense. Performances from the four leads are dynamite especially McDormand and Walsh. Great cinematography by Sonnenfeld and the first film score by Burwell is very memorable as well.
Coen brothers debut feature is still the darkest among the others they've come up with. Although they frequently returned to the themes of unreliability, murder and sadism - this one feels so bleak, hopeless and perverse - that it's hard to watch it given the wrong mood. Because of that, it leaves a bade taste that is washed up with sentimental song on closing credits - which deepens its morbid tone and memorability.
Sheer cinematic exuberance; this mix of precocious bravado & lateral thinking that you mainly only find in debuts and, even then, not in most of them. As if every shot aims right for 'iconic' and, better still, most of 'em land it. More than makes up for any structural weaknesses and technical imprecision (though personally I love the wild colour palate and DIY construction). Really, lots of fun. 3.75
There is an ambivalece in the work of the Coen brothers: lights & shadows changing; in here is a lot of light. This is a most typical example of their way doing it: all-in-one-mix of absurdity, violence, unpredictability & comedy. Very much entertaining! 'Blood Simple' constitutes the start of their career for more than 30 years ago & I wished they would stick to their roots more often. Like this.