Monday, November 20, 2006

And Also Starring...

"This is Texas, and out here, you're on your own"

All you need to know about Blood Simple, the Coen brothers brilliant debut, is contained in that line spoken in an opening monologue by M. Emmet Walsh. Walsh plays the murderous private detective Loren Visser, and he's one of the most memorable movie villians ever to come down the pike. It's the signature role in a career of supporting parts for this versatile actor.

Visser is hired by a greasy bar owner who wants his wife and her lover murdered, and their first on-screen meeting is a marvel of slowly uncoiling malice.

"I've got a job for you"

"Well, if the pay's right and it's legal, I'll do it."

"It's not strictly legal."

"Well...If the pay's right, I'll do it."

That's what makes Visser stand out for me. Although he's plenty nasty, you get the impression that if he wasn't approached with this murder business, he might happily go on his way with other strictly legal stuff. However, he is presented with the chance for a big payday, and the fact that he has to kill two people to collect is not a big obstacle to him.

Some other notable Walsh movies - Blade Runner, Bound for Glory, Reds, The Milagro Beanfield War, and Silkwood.


erik hogstrom said...

He is similarly slimy, I guess you would say, in Blade Runner.
Great character actors just never get their due.
Great post! Thanks!

Bill Chinaski said...

yeah, it's a great role and here's my favorite quote from the movie: "The world is full of complainers. But the fact is, nothing comes with a guarantee. I don't care if you're the Pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year, something can all go wrong. But go ahead, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help and watch him fly. Now in Russia, they got it all mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else. That's the theory anyway. But what I know about is Texas and down here you're on your own."

Jeff Duncanson said...

I buggered up that quote.

Steve said...

He gets one of my favorite exit lines in that film: "Well, ma'am, if I see him, I'll be sure to give him the message."