Blu-ray Review: BLOOD SIMPLE

Fox Home Entertainment
Release date: Aug 30th, 2011
MSRP: $19.99

Director: Ethan and Joel Coen
Stars: John Getz, Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, M Emmett Walsh

Once upon a time, there was two brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen. Joel & Ethan(hereafter refered to as The Coen Brothers) had a desire to make films.Films that would be smart, look good and kick ass.

Blood Simple was the beginning of a career that has earned them Oscars and a reputation for being world-class filmmakers and storytellers. BS is a true tale of Noir, a phrase that is often incaccurately used, being mixed up with hard-boiled. But I think BS captures the true spirt of those black as night
films of yesteryear.

One of the strenghts of the Bros Coen is being true to a genre while still maintaining their own vision and style. It is faithful, but not slavishly so. Add to that the fact that they have a dark, often wicked sense of humor and you have a hell of a debut. One that put Hollywood on notice and put them on the radar of filmgoers around the world.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but I will say it involves adultery, a scorned husband, lies, greed and many schemes and plots hatched by many people.

As I sat down to rewatch BS for the first time in over a decade, I could not help but be struck by how developed it is. By that, I mean that it does not look like a feature film debut, but rather something made by old pros that have learned all the tricks of the trade: How to set a scene or mood with
bits of music or lighting, they avoid heavy-handed dialogue and often get points across with very barest of facial expressions. They guys make most out of the skills of the cast.

Video:
Blood Simple was not an extravagent production so there is only so much that upgrading to 1080p is going to do. But because the Coen Brothers focus on details and use lighting and colors to set moods, I would say that the BD improves the overall viewing experience. There is a certain degree of
softness, but details of fabrics, wood grains and whatnot are still quite
good.

Audio: Much of what I said about the original production holds true for the audio track. This was never a world class production so ever upgrading the sound does little to enhance things. Truth be told, it highlights some unevenness; there are some effects (breaking glass, door slamming, a gunshot) that sound a little muffled and are not as sharp as
they should be. This is hardly enough to ruin things and many will likely not even notice them. But since I was watching with a mind to judge the quality, I did catch them.

Extras:
Not much is offered up. There is a trailer and a cheedy (and previously used) commentary track by actor Jim Piddock playing Kennth Loring, a pompous gentleman that offers up a snooty perspective. Amusing, but I would have loved to have heard Joel and Ethan revisit Blood Simple after all these
years.

Jeremy Lynch