Cinema: Same Old Song Blood Simple

Directed by Joel Coen; Screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

The setting is a town off the dirt road from Southwest Nowhere, but the emotional topography bears the mark of James M. Cain. A scorching sun boils the conversation into lies and insults; on the hot, empty nights there is little for a woman to do but cheat on her husband, and little for the husband to do but plot his mortal revenge. It sounds all too familiar: the slapping of thigh on thigh, the contagious guilt of working-class adulterers, the geometry of ricocheting recriminations, fate twisting duplicitous lovers slowly in the wind--The Postman with Body Heat Rings Double Indemnity.

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