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Sam Raimi
Reed Birney, Sheree J. Wilson, Louise Lasser, Paul L. Smith, Brion James, Bruce Campbell
83 min.


Directed by Sam Raimi! Written by Joel and Ethan Coen! Featuring Bruce Campbell! Why the hell has this been unavailable for most of a decade? My guess: either somebody (Anchor Bay Entertainment) is saving up for a big special edition, or, more likely, somebody (Sam, Joel or Ethan) doesn't want anyone to remember Crimewave now that they're Well Respected. Or it could be some sort of contractual thing. Anyway, this is well worth finding if you can. Some specialty rental stores carry it (Discount Video in Uptown has got it).

Coming between Blood Simple and Raising Arizona (and between Evil Deads 1 and 2), if you watch carefully you can see Raimi's style rub off on the Coens. This is the moment they switched from the understated suspense of their debut to the over-the-top style of the rest of their ouvre. The dialogue is crisp and snappy, including some of the best lines of either camp's work.

The leads, two exterminators turned hitmen, are grossly over-the-top without anything to hold onto, and could easily be considered as having ruined the picture. However, Renaldo, the apartment kid ("Where'd you get the negro, Butch?"), the dead guy in the elevator and the rest of the cast make it endearing.

Sure, it may not be the cleanest film they've done, it's not the most polished, it's probably not the best, but damn if it isn't a raw slice of hot shit. I can unashamedly proclaim this my favorite film attached to either Raimi or the Coens.

Pat Jackson