Get our free newsletter
1984’s Blood Simple and 2007’s No Country for Old Men, Joel and Ethan Coen’s eerie, blood-soaked, uncomfortably hilarious Texas neo-noirs, have a lot in common, down to the creepiness and originality of their respective villains, the double-crossing P.I. Loren Visser and the double-crossing hitman Anton Chigurh. But while Blood Simple, the Coen brothers’ first feature, was a deliberate riff on the various facets of their good taste—Dashiell Hammett, Alfred Hitchcock, ’70s exploitation films—with No Country for Old Men, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, they went deeper inward. Like lots of noirs, it’s a film about bad choices and violent ends set within the ostensibly basic framework of a manhunt; like other Coen black comedies, such as A Serious Man and Inside Llewyn Davis, it’s also interrogating the cruelty of men, the randomness of the universe, and, above all, the folly of explaining any of those things. Blood Simple has the bloodier ending, but No Country haunts you much harder. The films show July 29 to 31 at 6:30 p.m., August 2 at 1:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and August 3 at 12:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. $12. (202) 518-9400. washingtondcjcc.org.