Blood Ties is a throwback thriller to the 70s crime films which we all know and love. It wears its influences- from Sidney Lumet and Martin Scorsese- quite liberally on its sleeve. It’s reminiscent of the work of the American director James Gray, who has been doing this for the better part of 20 years, so it’s not surprising he is one of the credited screenwriters.
Chris (Clive Owen) is released from prison after serving 9 years for murder after he gets out for good behaviour. Chris’ wife is Monica (Marion Cotillard), a drug addicted prostitute, but Chris attempts to go straight when he meets his new girlfriend Natalie (Mila Kunis). Chris’ brother is Frank (Billy Crudup) who is a cop, which is frowned upon by their father Leon (James Caan). Naturally- after a while, Chris starts a descent back into a life of crime and Frank faces the question: should he turn his brother in or give up his promising career as a cop?
We’ve seen this film many times but it’s almost always a success and Blood Ties isn’t an exception. It’s mostly down to the strong performances from the majority of the cast, especially Owen and Crudup. Clive Owen seems to be working his way back into something of a comeback after this and the TV show The Knick. I’ve always thought of him as a modern Bogart type so it’s nice to have him back.
Guillaume Canet helms the picture; he is a French director who made a splash with his earlier film Tell No One and is also a notable actor as well. He is married to Marion Cotillard, which is partly why she is in the majority of his films, but she’s also one of the finest actor’s working today.
Overall, it’s a stylish crime thriller that we have all seen before. It boosts strong performances from the ensemble cast and has enough visual flair to keep the viewer interested. It had a limited release in the theatres which is a shame because it’s certainly better than most of the rubbish that fills multiplexes.
Genre: Drama, Crime Distributor: Lionsgate Films UK Rating: 15 BD/DVD Release Date: 6th October 2014 (UK) Director: Guillaume Canet Cast: Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup , Mila Kunis, James Caan, Zoe Saldana Buy: Blood Ties [DVD]