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Blood Simple: The Director's Cut
A movie review

blood simple

By C. Antonio Romero

SAN FRANCISCO, 11 August 2000 - Making the arthouse cinema rounds in the U.S. is the director's cut of Blood Simple, the first film of Joel and Ethan Coen, who later gave us the brilliant Fargo.

Recalling Jim Thompson at his most noir, this twisted tale of infidelity, misdirection and lethal misunderstandings foreshadows the epistemological juggling that made their later Miller's Crossing such a delight, and showcases a young Frances McDormand as Abby, one corner of a lopsided love triangle, torn between obsessive bar-owner husband Marty (Dan Hedaya) and bartender Ray (John Getz). M. Emmet Walsh as Visser, the grimy P.I. whose venality makes this little world twist 'round, is a special treat, in his way, McDormand is a real surprise to those who know her mostly from Fargo, and Hedaya vanishes completely into the role of Marty.

Really, though, the reasons to watch this are the convoluted plot, the film's visual style (especially remarkable given the film's miniscule budget) and the hints here and there of what the Coen brothers will achieve someday. If you've never seen it - or even if you have - Blood Simple is a great alternative to the big summer blockbusters for those who like their entertainment as clever as it is dark. If you've missed it in your area, track it down on video.

C. Antonio Romero is a writer and engineer based in Silicon Valley. He is the Nouveau editor of

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