This all sounds pretty straightforward were it not for the fact that the entire film is told in flashback with Ed providing a dense and verbose voiceover narrative. Ed's running commentary on his life is at odds with the Ed we see on screen. There he barely says a word, he is a man who isn't there - he is overlooked and forgotten, and although he makes no impact on those he meets (or indeed the audience) he is your typical Coen 'hero'. When he makes that fatal decision to blackmail Big Dave it is the start of a typical Coen chain reaction where a dumb schlub gets in way over his head and enters a dark world of murder, blackmail and betrayal. He is right up there with Marty in Blood Simple, Hi in Raising Arizona, Jerry in Fargo, the Dude in The Big Lebowski and Ulysses Everett McGill in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Even more confusing are the dream sequences and flights of fancy - leading the audience to constantly question what is real and what is Ed's imagination. Despite this, the film still holds your interest and further viewings don't help clear these up the narrative becomes more cryptic yet more compelling.
DVD extras include: an entertaining but not terribly illuminating commentary with the directors and star. Your standard making-of documentary with interviews with key cast and crew (16 minutes), an extensive and very interesting interview with cinematographer Roger Deakins (46 minutes), and some deleted material - one scene and four shots.