The Coen brothers are celebrated for their deft touch with thrillers and black comedies alike; long before No Country for Old Men or Fargo, their gift was evident from the outset, with 1984’s Blood Simple an auspicious debut. Bar-owner Julian (Dan Hedaya) discovers his wife Abby (Frances McDormand) is having an affair with Ray (John Getz), and hires a sleazy private investigator (M Emmet Walsh) to bump them off. Things don’t go to plan, and events spiral out of control leading to carnage on a visceral scale. The title comes from the idea of people becoming stupefied by their immersion in violence, and Blood Simple reeks of sweat, sex and bloodshed, with McDormard’s excellent work a pre-cursor of her turn in Fargo. A taut, twisty thriller, Blood Simple is classic crime noir.