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Blood Simple (1984) - Plot Summary Poster

(1984)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

  • 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.

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  • A bar-owner in Texas is certain that his wife is cheating on him and hires a private detective to spy on her. This is the beginning of a complex plot full of misunderstandings and murder.

  • Abby is cheating on her bar owner husband, Marty and the latest object of her affections is Ray, one of Marty's bartenders. Marty hires Visser, a seedy detective, to follow his wife and ultimately to kill her and Ray but Visser has other plans of his own. So begins a round of misunderstandings and deadly character interactions.

  • A jealous man hires a private investigator to trail his cheating wife. This leads to a simple contracted killing that goes very wrong.

  • Marty hires a private investigator to spy on his wife, who he suspects of cheating. When Marty then hires the PI to kill his wife and her lover, things get very complex.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In an unnamed Texas town, a sleazy bar owner Julian Marty suspects his wife, Abby (Frances McDormand), of being unfaithful. Abby gets one of the bartenders, Ray, to give her a ride out of town to Houston. She mentions her husband gave her a pearl handled pistol for their first anniversary and she states she figured she leave before she uses it on her husband,

    A seedy private detective Loren Visser (M. Emmet Walsh) hired by Marty to follow Abby, takes photos of Abby and Ray, when they end up at a local motel together rather than leaving town. Marty makes a menacing wake up phone call to them, making it clear that he is aware of their tryst.

    The next day Ray confronts Marty at the bar, it ends badly and Ray quits, walking out at which point Marty threatens Ray. Marty arranges for the private detective to kill the pair, and on the detective's suggestion, Marty goes out of town to create an alibi. That night, the detective breaks into Ray's house and steals Abby's revolver, partially loaded with 3 bullets, that was originally given to her by her husband.

    Visser uses photos he has doctored to make it appear that he has actually murdered the lovers and goes to collect his $10,000 fee from Marty, whereupon he shoots Marty with Abby's gun and drops it on the floor. Upon leaving, the detective does not realize not only has he has left behind his lighter but also the doctored photo that Marty has removed from the envelope and placed in his safe when getting the money.

    Later, that same evening, Ray arrives at the bar to insist that Marty pay him the back wages he's owed. Ray finds Marty shot in his chair bleeding out onto the floor. Ray discovers the gun, when he kicks it and it goes off. He recognizes the pistol as belonging to Abby. Ray is interrupted by another employee, Meurice, who arrives in the bar. Ray uses the noise from the bar jukebox to mask his attempt to clean up the blood. He removes Marty's body, dropping Abby's gun into Marty's coat pocket, puts the body into his car and drives off after throwing the bloody windbreaker and towel into the incinerator behind the bar.

    Driving down the highway, he hears a noise from the rear seat: Marty is alive. Panicking, Ray stops the car, jumps out the passenger door, and runs a short distance into a field. On returning to the car, he sees that the back driver's side door is open and finds Marty crawling down the highway. At first Ray debates running him over with his car, but then grabs a shovel from the trunk, intending to kill him that way, but is interrupted by an oncoming tractor-trailer. Ray considers throwing Marty into the path of the truck, but instead he picks up Marty and drags him back and into the car. Ray drives to the middle of a farmer's field, digs a hole and throws the still alive Marty in. He is in process of burying him when Marty pulls Abby's gun from his jacket pocket. He points it at Ray, and pulls the trigger and it clicks; he pulls it again twice more with the same result. Ray removes the gun from him and continues to bury Marty alive. At dawn, Ray gets his car started and drives off.

    Meanwhile, the private detective burns the series of doctored copies of the photograph he used to fake the murder of Abby and Ray. He opens the envelope in he handed to Marty and got back and he discovers that Marty has replaced the photo with a sign asking employees to wash their hands before returning to work. Annoyed, he tries to light his cigarette and notices his engraved prized lighter is gone.

    At Abby's apartment, a deeply disturbed Ray arrives and tries to explain that he cleaned up Abby's mess. Abby does not understand what Ray is talking about, and they get into an argument. Ray has blood on his shirt and Abby thinks the two men had a fight. Ray thinks Abby is being coy when she uses the same term her husband told Ray she used when he caught her cheating. The phone rings, interrupting their argument, and Abby answers but the caller doesn't speak. Abby hangs up thinking it was Marty when it was really the detective. "Well, that was him." "Who?" "Marty." Horrified, Ray leaves and drops Abby's revolver on the table on his way out. Meanwhile, Meurice, the other bartender, checks his answering machine and gets a delayed message from Marty claiming that a large amount of money has been stolen from the safe and that either he or Ray took it. Meurice goes to confront Ray about the theft of the money. Abby goes to Marty's bar to try to find out what happened with Ray. Abby finds the bar ransacked, the safe's combination lock dented, chipped, and partially shattered. The private detective had been trying to break into the safe to retrieve the photo and was interrupted by Abby's arrival: he is hiding in the bar watching Abby move about. She picks up a towel from the top of the safe; a hammer falls out. Abby spins the dial but does not open the safe. The now-rotting fish that Marty brought back from his trip are still on the desk where Marty was killed; and the detective's lighter is still underneath.

    At her apartment, Abby lies in bed; she gets up to wash her face and hears someone enter the apartment. She calls Ray's name, then pushes open the bathroom door. Marty is sitting on the bed. He tells her that he loves her, and then warns her; "He'll kill you too.", then pitches forward and vomits a torrent of blood. Abby wakes up from the dream. Ray is at his apartment packing when Abby arrives. Abby thinks that Marty refused to pay Ray, that Ray broke into the bar to get his money, and that the two of them got into a fight. Ray interrupts and tells her he found her gun at the bar, that he can't eat or sleep lately, and that Marty was alive when he buried him.

    Abby leaves to tell Meurice that she thinks Marty is dead; Meurice leaves for the bar. Ray is at the bar; he opens the safe and finds the faked photo showing him and Abby in bed, bodies riddled with holes, blood staining the sheets. He leaves for Abby's apartment and notices the same older model VW parked behind him, the same car that was following them earlier,when they ended up at the motel. Ray pulls out, and the private detective follows him. Abby arrives at her apartment and turns on the lights; Ray is looking out a large window and tells Abby to turn off the light. Abby is reluctant to do so. The private detective is on top of a nearby building, watching the two through a sniper scope, and shoots Ray through the back, killing him. Abby runs to crouch beneath the window, takes off her shoes, and throws them at the light bulb, breaking it. Visser arrives at Abby's apartment, and she goes into the bathroom to hide; outside the bathroom window is a precipitous drop. In Abby's sparsely furnished living room, Visser bludgeons Ray with a large coin bank, then searches Ray's pockets for the lighter, thinking he took it. Failing to find it, he goes into the bathroom. Abby is not there; he looks outside the window, then hearing a sound through the wall, he reaches his arm over, finding another window. He opens the window; Abby slams it on top of his wrist and drives a knife through his hand into the windowsill. The detective screams and then shoots holes through the wall and finally punches through and removes the knife from his other hand. Abby, dazed, backs out of the room and slides down the wall opposite the bathroom door, finding her revolver on the table by the door. The door is partly closed; eventually the man's shadow darkens the doorway, and Abby fires through the door, using up the third and final bullet. The detective falls. "I'm not afraid of you, Marty," Abby says. Visser, laying out on the bathroom floor, bleeding from his chest and hand, suddenly bursts into laughing. "Well, ma'am, if I see him, I'll sure give him the message." The detective lies looking up at the underside of the bathroom sink. Water collects on its underside, grows into a drop, and drips. The movie ends.

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