Where it all began for the Coen brothers on their career-long darkly comic road trip through misfit America, this razor-sharp, hard-boiled Texan noir sees a sleazy bar owner release a torrent of violence upon himself and those around him with one murderous thought.
In a dusty Texas town, well-off bar owner Julian Marty (Dan Hedaya) suspects that his wife Abby (Frances McDormand) is cheating on him with his bartender Ray (John Getz). Enraged by their deceit he hires Visser (M. Emmet Walsh), a slippery private eye with no moral compass, to first confirm his suspicions and then kill both of them off. But unbeknown to Marty, Visser has other, more lucrative plans of his own, unleashing an intricate web of lethally intersecting misunderstandings.
As the opening statement of a career, and as a rough map of everything that would follow, the Coen’s first feature is one of the most remarkable debut films of all time. Blending elements from pulp fiction and low-budget horror flicks, it reinvented the film noir for a new generation, and marked the arrival of a filmmaking ensemble (including actor Frances McDormand, cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld and composer Carter Burwell) that would transform American independent cinema.
New restoration with thanks to StudioCanal and the ICO.
With an introduction by Tommy Curtis, Cinema Rediscovered Volunteer Coordinator.