Blood Simple

dir. Joel Coen

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Made on a shoestring budget, the Coens' celebrated debut feature is a twisty, tightly scripted and visually arresting homage to such film noir classics as Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil.

In a dusty Texas town, well-off bar owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) suspects that his wife Abby (Frances McDormand) is cheating on him with his bartender Ray (John Getz). He hires private eye Loren Visser (M. Emmet Walsh) to take compromising photos of the pair; and when Visser's photos confirm his suspicions, Marty pays the sleazy bedroom dick to murder the lovers while he is out of town on a fishing trip. But one criminal plot leads to another in a swirling vortex of deceit and murder that leads the fated foursome to a shocking twist ending. Made on a shoestring budget, the Coens' critically acclaimed debut feature is a twisty, tightly scripted and visually arresting homage to such noir classics as Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil. With an ingeniously atmospheric use of light and shadow by cinematographer and future director Barry Sonnenfeld, Blood Simple established the Coens' distinctively showy style and meta-genre genius. "Arguably the most influential noir since Chinatown" (J. Hoberman, The Village Voice).