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Blood Simple is a 1984 film about a bar-owner in Texas who is certain that his wife is cheating on him and hires a private detective to spy on her. It was the The Coen Brothers' debut film and features many of their odd trademarks.
Tropes used in this film:
- Black and Gray Morality: The "heroes" are a selfish adulterous couple, one of whom buries a man alive. The villains? Wooh boy...
- 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.
- DVD Commentary: Subverted. 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. Cruelly averted later when he has no problem killing them to protect himself.
- 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.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Julian Marty is played by Nick Tortelli.
- The Hyena: Detective Visser.
- Hyper Awareness: Totally averted, causing the loss of Chekhov's Guns.
- Instant Death Bullet: Seemingly 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
- 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, itself famously adapted by Akira Kurosawa as Yojimbo. Which was then adapted once more as a Spaghetti Western (Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars).
- Mistaken Identity: With fatal results.
- 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.
- 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."
- Re Cut: The Coens have quipped that this is the first film in Hollywood history for which the Director's Cut actually REMOVES material.
- Romance on the Set: Co-director Joel Coen and actress Frances McDormand.
- Shoot the Messenger: Inverted. Oh Lord, how it's inverted.
- 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.
- Title Drop
- Too Dumb to Live: Ray, and he doesn't either.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Once.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Twice.
- Your Cheating Heart: The heroine, of all people.
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