While I wasn't interested in the characters, nor their fates, I was fascinated by the Coen's 1st effort. Many of their directing trademarks are there: the opening montage with voiceover (No Country), the meaninglessness of triggered events (Burn after Reading) & classic dream sequences (Big Lebowski, Serious Man). It's all there. Man, have they honed their craft since then. It's not bad, just evidence of talent.
A wonderful modern noir. There are some brilliant transitions and an urgency to the edits which, i'm afraid, haven't been seen since from the Coens. The range of color successfully used in this film is rare. Great use of props and objects to tell story. Minus a few dialogue scenes, great acting. Spike Lee-like command of place. Scorsese-like use of music. Superb pacing and a story that keeps on giving.
Very close to perfect with a few narrative missteps(dat dream sequence). The Coen brothers direct this thing to hell and back. Upon a re-watch, I couldn't help but think of Sam Riami's slight influence in the film; take notice of a few jarring camera shots(burial scene & the finger breaking scene) and that truly horrific climatic stabbing!
How to shoot a Film Noir in 1984 ? Ask the Coen brothers, they dit it. With class. They just added to the classic recipe an ounce of black humor, two drops of unrealism, a pinch of brogue and some variations about the word "Blood" which is not as simple as one could imagine. Shake a little, allow to simmer gently during 94 minutes and you'll get the near perfect spaghetti Film Noir. Highly recommended.