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12:30   2:40   4:50    7:00   9:10

Through Thursday, July 14

Directed by Joel Coen

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen

Director’s Cut

New 4K Restoration

(1984) John Getz and Frances McDormand are having a hot and heavy affair, but they’re suspected by her husband and his boss Dan Hedaya, who then hires cowboy-outfitted private dick M. Emmet Walsh to tail them. Then the double crosses, silent phone calls, clumsily lost evidence, and a pistol-packing presumed corpse ensue; with everybody suspecting everybody else of the wrong crimes, and only the audience knowing who’s done what to whom — or does it? Debut for Oscar-winner-to-be (and Joel’s wife) McDormand and Coen house composer Carter Burwell. DCP restoration of the director’s cut. Approx. 96 mins.



“Tightly composed and beautifully shot. Exhibits a passion for the medium and history of film itself. Displays many [Coen brothers] hallmarks: unexpected violence, old-coot cowboys, funny dialogue, striking imagery, fat men in suits screaming, double-crosses, and Frances McDormand. The film’s taut climax, an outburst of gore and revelation, is as suspenseful as anything the Coens have produced since.”
– Chris Packham, The Village Voice

“Often imitated but never duplicated. Devious and imaginative. A glorious new restoration.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“Magnificently moody neo-noir. A trailblazing masterpiece.”
– A.V. Club

“A riff built from neon and Motown. Builds pure tension through dumpster fires, bug zappers, and rotting fish, all culminating in a fittingly grisly finale.” 
– Max Kybruz, Brooklyn Magazine 

“EXTRAORDINARY. A down-and-dirty Texas noir. Rarely do filmmakers spring so fully formed out of the gate.”
– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“STYLISH. Introduced the [Coen] brothers’ inimitable black humor and eccentric sense of character, a sensibility that has helped shape the course of contemporary American cinema. Playfully shot by Barry Sonnenfeld and featuring a haunting score by Carter Burwell and a cunning performance by Frances McDormand.”
– Ed Moy, Examiner

“A remarkable accomplishment.”
– Vanity Fair 

“A debut as scarifyingly assured as any since Orson Welles.” 
– Richard Corliss, Time

“Visually sophisticated.”
– Pauline Kael 

“A tricky, amusingly self-conscious, scream-at-the-screen thriller, the beginning of the brothers’ inexhaustible exploration of blind self-interest and its catastrophic consequences.”
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine 

“Violent, unrelenting, absurd, and fiendishly clever.” 
Roger Ebert

 “Arguably the first American independent film that wanted to do nothing more — or less — than enthrall its audience with the sleight-of-hand rogue cunning of a Hollywood thriller... The Coen brothers made the impulse toward sheer entertainment seem, for an ‘art’ film, a revolutionary act... Quentin Tarantino, you’d better believe, took a good, hard look at Blood Simple; so did David Lynch and Steven Soderbergh.”
– Owen Gleiberman

“A directorial debut of extraordinary promise... the camera work by Barry Sonnenfeld is especially dazzling. So is the fact that Mr. Coen, unlike many people who have directed great-looking Film Noir efforts, knows better than to let handsomeness become the film’s entire raison d’être... Has the kind of purposefulness and coherence that show Mr. Coen to be headed for bigger, even better, things.”
– Janet Maslin, The New York Times (original 1984 review)


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COEN BROTHERS: Q & A with Joel and Ethan Coen

Recorded January 28, 2016

Film Forum