Blood Simple (1984): 6 out of 10: Some movies are victims of their own success. Alien is a great film, but it seems a little slow nowadays and the plot while very fresh in 1979 has been done to death. (I still love it mind you but if I saw it for the first time this year, I would probably wonder what the big deal is) The surprise is gone. I bring that up because at its time Blood Simple was a critics’ darling. A breath of very fresh air in our nation’s multiplexes. Not anymore.
This kind of noir has been done to death since the Coen brothers revived it twenty-plus years ago and Blood Simple through no fault of its own suffers. The plot of the jealous husband and double-crosses has had so many spins of the same record (1/2 of them seemingly starring Tim Matheson) that the original doesn’t have the freshness or power it undoubtedly had back in ’84.
The movie has great strengths still, however. Seeing Frances McDormand looking this cute reminds me of seeing Lucille Ball or Bette Davis in one of their first films when they were sex objects. And while John Getz gets swallowed up in his straight role Dan Hedaya (Cheers) on the other hand plays sleazy so well I forget I have seen it so many times since.
Overall, very well done if slightly slow-paced and worth a view just too familiar to encourage a repeat viewing.