Film / Blood Simple.

"Down here, you're on your own."

Blood Simple. is a 1984 Neo-Noir thriller about a Texas bar-owner who is certain that his wife is cheating on him and hires a private detective to spy on her. But that's only the beginning.

Written and directed by The Coen Brothers, this was their debut film and features many of their odd trademarks. The cast includes Frances McDormand, John Getz, Dan Hedaya, and M. Emmett Walsh.

This film provides examples of:

  • Alone with the Psycho: Abby with Visser in the movie's final minutes.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Abby manages to fight off and kill Visser.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The "heroes" are a selfish adulterous couple, one of whom buries a man alive. The villains? Wooh boy...
  • Black Mail
  • Buried Alive: Marty, by Ray.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. It's a vital part of the plot that the characters keep losing or forgetting about the various items presented to us, the viewers, as obvious Plot Coupons.
    • There's also an actual gun, namely the pearl-handled .38 owned by the heroine. The number of bullets it contains is also a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Meurice, in confronting Ray over what he thinks is his ransacking of Marty's safe, takes a cigarette out of Ray's mouth because "these things are nothing but coffin nails." But right afterwards, as he is walking away, Meurice lights up himself.
  • DVD Commentary: Parodied. An imaginary film historian Kenneth Loring spouts obvious nonsense about the process by which the movie is made.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Seemingly played straight with Visser's refusal to murder the couple. Averted later when he has no problem killing them to protect himself.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Inverted. Abby's dog's happy reaction is what makes her realize Marty's in the house.
  • Film Noir
  • Gallows Humour: This is a Coen Brothers film, after all.
  • Gambit Pileup: It quickly becomes quite a chore to keep track of what each of the four main characters thinks is happening, along with what's really happening.
  • Good Is Dumb: While Ray may not be conventionally "good," he's about as close as a film noir character gets. And he has got to be about the dumbest character every to wander into a crime movie.
  • Groin Attack
  • The Hyena: Detective Visser.
  • Hyper Awareness: Totally averted, causing the loss of Chekhov's Guns.
  • In the Style of...: In the background of an early bar scene, you can hear a country-and-western version of the theme from Chariots of Fire.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Subverted. Played straight when The private eye shoots Marty. but later shown to be a rather horrific aversion when he regains consciousness just in time to be buried alive
  • Ironic Death: Subverted. When Ray thinks of a way how to dispose of Marty's body, he throws a glance at the incinerator, the very place he himself was meant to end up in. To our surprise he doesn't go through with the idea.
  • Last Name Basis: No one ever calls Marty by his first name, Julian.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To a line from Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest where the main character reflects that his mind has become temporarily addled by pervasive violence.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The period in the title.
  • Mistaken Identity: With fatal results.
  • Mugging the Monster: Insulting Visser turns out very badly for Marty.
  • New Old West: Like several of the Coens' films.
  • No Name Given: M. Emmet Walsh's scene stealing Private Detective is actually named Loren Visser.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore
    • Subverted in that it is someone else she is confronting.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Abby and Ray could have avoided a lot of trouble if they had just talked to each other.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Delivered by the victim. After Abby shoots him and says "I'm not afraid of you, Marty" (she hasn't seen that it's Visser and believes it to be Marty back from the dead), Visser bursts into laughter and proclaims: "Well Ma'am if I see him, I'll give him the message."
  • Psycho for Hire: Visser initially comes across as little more than a buffoonish, washed-out private investigator, but he turns out to be a murderous double crosser who's happy to play hitman if the price is right, and then some.
  • Re Cut: The Coens have quipped that this is the first film in Hollywood history for which the Director's Cut actually REMOVES material.
  • The Remake / Foreign Remake: Zhang Yimou remade this film in 2010 as A Woman, A Gun, and a Noodle Shop. It was widely criticized for its replacement of the Black Comedy from the original with broad slapstick violence. The Coens liked it, though, and joked that they should remake Raise the Red Lantern in return.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Discussed, and inverted. Oh Lord, how it's inverted.
  • Skeleton Key Card: Used by Visser to get into Ray's house.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ray, and he doesn't either.
  • The Voice: An uncredited Holly Hunter as Helene, who leaves a message on Meurice's answering machine.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Once.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Twice.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The heroine, of all people.