Archives / 1985 Sundance Film Festival

Blood Simple

Director: Joel Coen

Screenwriters: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Institute History

Description

“Black humor, abundant originality and a brilliant visual style make Joel Coen’s Blood Simple a directorial debut of extraordinary promise,” says Janet Maslin in the New York Times. A great deal of dying is done in Blood Simple and none of it done right. The plot concerns four people—a bar owner, his wife, the bartender with whom the wife runs off, and the unscrupulous and scuzzy private detective hired by the forlorn husband to kill the runaway couple.

Their paths cross, re-cross and tangle to the point where the plot becomes a series of ingenious mistakes and misapprehensions. When the bartender, for instance, finds the bleeding, lifeless body of the bar owner, he thinks the wife shot her husband; he loves her so much that he cleans up the mess and takes the body away to bury it. But the body is not so dead as it should be. This film has a ghoulish potential, but its visual cleverness and hilarious mood make it ultimately a real audience pleaser.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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