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Blood Simple Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles:English, Spanish
  • Region: A (B? C?)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • List Price: $19.99

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Purchase Blood Simple on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Blood Simple was the legendary Coen brothers’ initial entry into cinematic history. An outstanding cast of actors is headed by Dan Hedaya (Julian Marty, the cuckolded husband), M. Emmet Walsh (Loren Visser, the sadistic private investigator), John Getz (Ray, the lover) and Frances McDormand (Abby, the wayward wife). The film’s near-Shakespearean drama is set in a generic Texas town where bar owner Marty clearly carries a lot of weight. The basics of human relationships, their complications, and the ultimate attempts to resolve these complications elevate Blood Simple from just another infidelity flick to one probing the essence of monogamy. The story has sufficient twists and turns to keep viewers squirming until the ultimate  violent climax. All of the principal actors deliver convincing, first-rate performances. The raw nature of the cinematography will either grab you by the throat or kick you in the balls. No matter, Blood Simple will certainly not elicit a neutral audience response.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Blood Simple is considered a film noir, albeit shot in color. Given the age of the original, this reissue is pretty amazing. Close up detail is excellent, and there is relatively little graininess. Most of the scenes contain close shots that add to the intimacy of the plot and never fail to get your attention. There are also a lot of one-on-one encounters, a hallmark of many of the later Coen brothers movies. When Ray buries Marty alive in a field, the contrast between his grim visage and the scenic landscape enhances the chilling nature of this tableau. Of course, the gruesome finale remains one of the most nail-biting moments in recent cinema history.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

The Blood Simple soundtrack is basic PCM 2.0. This unvarnished effort to keep the dialogue upfront is consistent with somewhat retro aspect of the story board. Surround effects are nil but not really needed to sustain the dramatic pulse of this fast-moving movie whose impact depends more on sight than on sound.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1/5]

Outside of soundtrack commentaries, this reissue does not offer additional interviews. Too bad, since this film represents the making of Coen brothers film factory in the making.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Blood Simple is an outstanding example of American film work that incorporates some of the innovative visual techniques of the 70’s with the improved technology of the 80’s. Yes, the story is basic pulp fiction and yet, in the best cinematic tradition, its plot gradually becomes larger than life. No small credit is due to the contributions of the cast and the economical no-nonsense cinematography. The casting of Hedaya and McDormand in featured roles might have seemed a bit risky at the time. The former was a relatively little known character actor while the latter (she was married to director Joel Coen) was making her film debut. The strength of their performances more than justifies these decisions. However, it is the veteran M. Emmet Walsh who really carries the show and raises the bar for film villains. A number of American films have dealt with infidelity, including The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Double Indemnity. Blood Simple may not displace such films in the pantheon of movies about bad marriages. However, it does set the stage for future Coen brothers movies and makes no apologies in its own right as a stark tribute to its film noir predecessors.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00553K9OO[/amazon-product]

Purchase Blood Simple on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1/5]

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