Blood Simple

“The world is full of complainers. But the fact is, nothing comes with a guarantee. I don’t care if you are the Pope of Rome, President of the United State, or Man of the Year, something can go wrong,” according to Vesser, the detective in Blood Simple (1984) which shows what can happen when a plan goes awry. Marty, a small bar owner in Texas, suspects his wife, Abby’s infidelity with one of his bartenders, Ray, and hires Vesser to kill them. The cinematography illustrates how circumstances drive human beings, rather than their free will. By using mixture of lighting, camera angels, and sound, the Coen brother portraits how does Abby’s affair lead to complicated and bloody murders. This is particularly evident in the scene where Marty offers to pay $10,000 to kill Abby and Ray.

Meeting Vesser on top of the hill, Marty plans to propose the murdering plan. Throughout this scene, the bright sunlight functions as hard, side lighting. In shot 1, by using these lighting, Marty has been portrait as unattractive and drawn. The medium close up shot and side light shows his split personality and complicated emotions: he wants to kill Abby, whom he still in love with , because jealous predominates his mind. During this shot, some kids near by is playing delightful music which contracts Marty’s weighty emotions. In shot 2, everything is a diverge of Marty’s unpleasant mood: the spacious location, Marty’s bright yellow suit and the lively background music. All of these make him more irritated. In addition, having both Marty and Vesser on the same frame further distinguishes Marty from this superficially lively environment. Underneath the surface, Marty who is planning a murder is scared as well deep inside of him; he is also in a less powerful position even through he imitated the appointment. This is proved by both using the long shot films Marty, back facing viewers, walks toward Vesser and putting Vesser in sharp focus.

The setting switches from open environment to inside the car at shot 3 imply something that is more secretive will happen. The telephoto lens put both Marty and Vesser in the same visual frame, and side lighting presents half of Marty in the shadow. This further indicate Marty is in a contradictory situation that he does not want to seek help from this detective or commit any crime deep down, but the humiliation and jealous drives him insane. Vesser triggers Marty’s termination for crime in order to get himself some business, wearing the saturated color suit mocks his immorality. Finally at shot 4, Marty who is very vulnerable deeply, proposed his plan. The sound of the kids\' car is heard screeching away, leaving silence to match the intensity of their discussion. Eye level shot combines hard side lighting conveys that Marty is hurt and scared himself. In addition, he has not eye contact with Marty and speaks in a moronic express seems like he is telling someone’s story. This indicates that Marty try to convince himself that he is not the cause of the upcoming tragedy.

Finally, by using rack focus at shot 5, Marty is in sharp focus in the background and Vesser is in soft focus in the foreground. This expresses a shift in these two men’s position. Marty feels from unsecured and guilty at the beginning to determinant for the murder to happen, while Vesser has became quiet, passive and even nervous which further proved from his sweat. The decadence of these two people merges out of surface; however they are leading each other to this end. If not Vesser’s scorn, Marty might change his mind, and Vesser won’t agree to kill two human being without the monetary offer.

By presents the depravity of Vesser and Marty throughout the scent, the Coed brothers in Blood Simple implies the violence is taking actions. Marty and Vesser’s inability to control their action with morality finally lead to their death.


Shot Description

Analysis of Mise-En-Scene,


Marty saw Vesser (audience haven’t)

Hard light and close up shot on Marty’s face, then eye level shot and saw Vesser.


Marty walking toward Vesser who leans again a car while talking to a girl

Long shot used and both of them are in one frame. Hard