August 9, 2013
Paul Bettany as Joe
Stephen Graham as Chrissie
Ben Crompton as Jason
Two brothers – Joe and Chrissie – are detectives for the local PD investigating the murder of a young girl. When the evidence connects Jason -a known pedophile – to the girl, the detectives press him for a confession. Yet he won’t admit to the crime and his lawyers compel the police to let him go, barring further evidence. After a party of heavy drinking with several members of the police department and their families in attendance, Joe and Chrissie go looking for Jason. They find him volunteering at the local church and strong-arm him into the backseat of their car. After taking him to one of the islands and forcing a confession, Joe kills him in a fit of rage. Yet, when Robert – a fellow detective – tracks down the real killers, Joe begins seeing Jason everywhere and may go to extreme measures to keep the murder a secret.
No horror in this one. Blood is a standard cops-taking-the-law-into-own-hands flick with a predictable ‘Crime and Punishment’ climax. The suspense runs like a slow IV drip, made all the more agonizing by the obvious nature of the outcome. Yet the father’s creeping senility makes for an interesting wildcard and the humanization of Jason through his grieving mother adds an unexpected flavor to an otherwise unremarkable plotline. Additionally, the acting is first rate. Paul Bettany – with the most demanding role – delivers spectacularly. And the character friction between the brothers and their spouses in the murder’s aftermath ensures the talents of each member of the cast are on full display.
Yet, one gnawing annoyance is the spotty writing: The audio ‘mysteriously’ mutes during a critical moment of Jason’s forced confession. It mutes again when Chrissie repeats those words to his brother the day after. Yet, what we are tempted to see as an important part of the mystery ultimately holds little significance in the broader context and by the time we reach the climax, the muted words have become worthless to the suspense, or our entertainment. The technique itself is considered a last resort for writers, but to use it to cover-up utterly meaningless information is asinine.
Although most will correctly guess the ultimate outcome immediately after the murder and the climax will confirm that assumption an hour later, for some reason the director felt compelled to not explicitly show us the final details. From a story perspective, the effect of this omission is minimal, but for those who like closure, you will be disappointed. Instead, we are treated to a solo of Paul Bettany walking off into the sunset. Thematically, such an ending is fitting, since the entire movie is more or less a showcase for the British actor’s talents.
For those of you in the mood for a slow-burn suspense – that regrettably offers little suspense – which relies on strong character development and a realistic exhibition of the tragic consequences of anger unleashed, this isn’t a bad one. Blood is NOT for horror fans, nor to be seen with a date – given the depressing content.
In other words, this one is only for that small slice of the population that likes sad, slow movies.