4 jun. 2014

My Review: Blood Ties (5/10)

"It'll be your wedding present."

Blood Ties is a 70's crime drama that not only is a remake of a 2008 French film (Les liens du sang), but it also feels familiar to other films in the genre. One that came to mind while watching this film was James Gray's We Own the Night considering it deals with two brothers who are on different sides of the law. Ironically I found out after the film that the screenplay was adapted by director Guillaume Canet with the help of Gray himself. Despite that, I enjoyed this film because I like 70's crime dramas but it really didn't add anything to the genre and it was very predictable. The ensemble cast in Blood Ties is probably the strongest asset of the film, although I have to admit the production design was also pretty strong as it gave the film an authentic 70's vibe. Blood Ties is a great film to look at, and the actors all give strong performances, but the issue I had with this film beside the fact that it was predictable was that every gray character in the film was given a redemptive scene every time something bad was going to happen to them. I felt this was kind of a weak shot to manipulate the audience's feelings and try to engage them emotionally. It really took me out of the movie because it happens throughout the film with various characters. Blood Ties is still worth a shot if you enjoy crime dramas or if you like the talented cast involved. The performances stand out in an otherwise predictable and standard film. 

Blood Ties is a remake of a French film that also happened to be based on a French novel written by Michel and Bruno Papet. The screenplay for this film, which was adapted and relocated to New York, was written by Guillaume Canet and James Gray. Canet had previously starred in the original French film as one of the brothers. The film takes place during the 70's and it centers on a rather dysfunctional family. Two siblings, Frank (Billy Crudup) and Marie (Lili Taylor), await for their brother Chris (Clive Owen) to be released from prison. Frank happens to be a promising police officer, and he tries to help Chris stay away from trouble by finding him a job and giving him a fresh start. The first thing they do after they release Chris is visit their father, Leon (James Caan) at the hospital, who has just had one of his lungs removed. Next Frank takes Chris to visit his ex wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard) and their two children, although she doesn't seem to happy about it. Frank allows Chris to stay at his apartment, but eventually Chris's past catches up with him when he falls for the beautiful Natalie (Mila Kunis) whom he wants to provide a better life for. Frank is also trying to reconnect with a former lover, named Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), who has a daughter and is in a relationship with a man who he just put behind bars (Matthias Schoenaerts from Rust and Bone). As Chris reconnects with his criminal life, it puts Frank at an awkward position in his job as the two paths are destined to crash at one point.

Marion Cotillard is terrific once again in this film. There is one scene where she doesn't say anything, but the look in her eyes say it all. She is just a supporting character, but every time she is on screen she steals the show. Billy Crudup is the lead here and he delivers a solid performance. His character is more reserved, but he expresses his inner struggles very well. Clive Owen was on a role between 2004 and 2009 starring in several great films, but I haven't seen much from him since. He gives a solid performance here and easily one of his best over the past 5 years. Mila Kunis isn't given much to work with, but she does her job. Every character in this film seemed to have some important role and the casting was brilliant. Blood Ties is a decent film, the only problem is that the source material has been covered before making the story seem predictable. 

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