Texas bar owner Julian Marty, who is generally regarded as not a nice person, hires shady private detective Loren Visser, who is able to obtain what Marty requests evidence - in this instance, photographic - that his wife, Abby, and one of his bartenders, Ray, are having an affair. As Ray and Abby realize that Marty has found out about them, it allows them to plan for their future away from Marty, while be up front with Marty about the situation. Marty, in turn, decides to hire Visser once again, this time to kill Abby and Ray, and dispose of their bodies so that they won't be found. The out in the open affair and the contract hit lead to some actions based on self interest, and a standoff of sorts between the four players, which is compounded in complexity by some wrong assumptions of what has happened, with an innocent bystander, another of the Marty's bartenders, Meurice, potentially and unwittingly adding to the scenario.Written by
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When we first see Abby's revolver in her purse, it is a detective-style gun with a dark finish and dark handle with an enclosed hammer and no cocking lever. For the rest of the movie, it is a shiny silver ivory grip revolver with a cocking lever - a completely different gun. See more »
Private Detective Visser:
The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... ...
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The Coens are like Soderbergh, they alternate between risky adventures and "commercial" projects. Only in the Coens' world, it is not so much a matter of commercialism but a matter of respect for the genre. Half of their films are profoundly layered, with a typical genre at the "bottom" and all sorts of annotation and commentary in layers on the top.
Its the same in abstract painting, the real stuff that is: to be good at distancing yourself from representational art, you have to master it before you leave it. So the Coens work on mastering a genre before they extend it (and goof all over it).
Naturally, their first project is a straight genre picture. Naturally, it is good (even excellent in its class), if not particularly novel.
Noir is an abused term. I think there are only two notions that are necessary. The first is the existence of a capricious fate, producing coincidences that toy with humans (usually humans). The second is the placement of the viewer (via the camera) in some sort of conspiracy with this fate. In some nefarious way, the viewer _causes_ some of these.
You'll have to decide whether a noir film made after the period in which it was developed can be enjoyed in the same way. It does necessarily carry some distance, the study rather than the intuition. But the hardest thing in noir is ending. These guys do it as perfectly as I know: the last vision of a dying man, watching something inconsequential but inevitable.
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