Joel Coen, 1984
The dreaded director’s cut: a chance for the unjustly suppressed filmmaker to restore their art to its original 202 minute brilliance, right? Not so, Joel and Ethan Coen – whose 96-minute edit of their sublime first film stands a full three minutes shorter than its theatrical counterpart. No bonus flab to be found here, it’s a lean, mean neo-noir with a barnstorming Frances McDormand debut and an artfully tangled plot. Banal Texan landscapes, baffling non-sequiturs, a maddeningly abrupt ending – for the Coen brothers fan, it has everything.