Blood Ties Review
I always love a great crime thriller. It is easily of my most beloved genres in all of movies. What is it about cops and robbers that draws American audiences? Cop shows on television have survived just as doctor shows. It also seems that with every new generation, a cop movie or crime movie becomes a new classic. I love the genre a lot and I feel that there is a very good reason why it has lasted this long. "Blood Ties" is a crime story based on a popular French novel sounded like an interesting idea. Especially a crime story that starred Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, Lily Taylor, James Caan and Noah Emmerich. It sounded like something I'd absolutely love. Something that would be a shoe-in with my tastes. Something that I'd be chatting about for several years to come.
So I am puzzled to learn that I don't love it. In fact, I don't think much of it at all.
Each actor really gives it there all, and that carries the film to a degree. We get a really cool glimpse into this underworld that the characters live in. We also get another decent look into the world of law enforcement as well. "Blood Ties" is a movie set in the 1970's and the attention to detail is quite marvelous. There is certainly room for some intense situations and character beats, but none of that is explored.
The film focuses on Chris (Owen) who is released from prison after quite some time. He is greeted by is brother Frank (Crudup) who is a New York City cop. Frank helps Chris along to get started. He helps Chris find a job, he lets him stay at his apartment, he hangs out with him and the rest of the family. Chris really tries to have a legitimate life, but slowly but surely, he goes back to his criminal ways. Which brings Chris in a struggle with Frank. Besides that, there really isn't much to the rest of the movie. For a film that clocks in at almost two hours and ten minutes, I feel it could have received a better edit and had been smoothed down to an hour and a half. One of the biggest problems I had with "Blood Ties" was that it just seemed too long, and there was not enough excitement to fill that time.
Like I said, the actors are great. Crudup and Owen work incredibly well together. The supporting work by the rest of the cast is top-notch. But I could not get over that "Blood Ties" seemed heavily invested in being like other movies. Yes crime was bad in New York City during the 1970's, but "American Gangster" did it better. Yes, Chris and Frank have a troubled relationship due to their professions, but "We Own The Night" did it better. "Blood Ties" only seems to want to be second tier and nothing more. It feels like the movie doesn't even want to try. There is never a sense of urgency to anything in the story, no real tension, no real emotion. That forces the actors to come off like they are playing cops and robbers with each other, instead of starring in a movie together. Its been a while since I have watched a crime thriller that just laid flat like this.
"Blood Ties" will not destroy any careers, but it will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. It has good performances, but that talent is wasted on a tedium, boring script. When there is so much talent on display, it hurts worse, what were they all thinking? But I guess, lets not forget its few redeeming qualities.
FINAL GRADE: C