Blood Ties Reviews

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jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ June 3, 2014
So much talent. So little result.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2014
A powerhouse crime-drama that shines with the gritty storytelling of Scorsese. A strong script, a gorgeous cast and a great soundtrack are only a few things that stand out in this project. A tough, stylish, gritty and mesmerizing movie that explodes with drama and action. A powerful and outstanding movie that's riveting, exciting and action-packed. The best crime-drama since The Town. Writer, James Gray and Director, Guillaume Canet craft a dazzling and epic piece of crime and brotherhood. It's one of the best movies of 2014. An instant classic. A hard-hitting and deeply absorbing character study. A remarkable all-star cast. Clive Owen gives a powerful and explosive performance, its his best role in years. Billy Crudup is outstanding. Mila Kunis is terrific. Zoe Saldana is excellent. Marion Cotillard is fantastic. A film that will entertain you all the way to its beautifully tragic ending.
MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2014
Crime runs in the family.

Good Movie! Excellent story and good screenplay to go with it. However, need to be patient to follow the story line effectively through. Not a simple straightforward story which we usually see in movies. Good family crime drama. It is a thriller reaching the climax at the end. Like the ending too. The starting and the ending of the story blend together very well. In fact all the actors and actresses portrayed their parts very well indeed. The story is adapted from a French novel and movie. If you like simple straightforward action movie, then this is definitely not your type.

New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Reluctantly waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favor Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance - he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris' inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it's already too late, as the brothers' destiny is bound together, forever.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2014
Decent drama, Blood Ties is one of those films that d9oesn't try to do anything refreshing with its story and opts to retain similar genre elements that we've already seen before. The film really could have been better if there would have been a rewrite or two, as it is, it's only a decent affair, one that is only watchable once, and it doesn't demand repeat viewings. The performances are average, and you're left wanting more out of the film. This is your typical crime film, and it tends to rely on genre clichés to tell its story. The way the subject is handled is average, but like I said, it could have been much better than what it turned out to be. There are better films out there that are similar, and this one just seems to recycle previous ideas without trying anything new or exciting, and the filmmakers really could have made something memorable here. The film's pacing is slow with no emphasis on effective story development, which in turn takes way too long for the story to unfold, and makes you lose interest slightly in the film. As it is, it's worth seeing if you have nothing else to watch, but don't expect a brilliant crime film. Blood Ties is a film that feels rushed and it shows on-screen. I think it's a shame because this film really could have been something terrific for the genre, but it never materializes to be anything remarkable. Decent for what it is, Blood Ties is the type of film that you should watch if you have nothing else to watch.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2015
Shot in a 1970s style, Blood Ties certainly has the right look. The film features a great cast, that made me desperately want to see it, but the problem is that it's a very common tale and it moves along at a snails pace. Even with a story that's been done over and over again, Blood Ties still could have been something special, because of it's cast, but that didn't happen simply because it is one of the most predictable films I've seen all year. The film features two brothers, Chris (Clive Owen) a career criminal, just released from prison, and Frank (Billy Crudup) a New York City Detective, who tries to help Chris get back on his feet. Didn't I see this movie in 2007 when it was called We Own The Night? That film has the exact same tagline, but fortunately wasn't as predictable. Billy Crudup stars as the good brother and was the only interesting character in the film, surprising considering the film features two of my favorite actors, James Caan and Charlie Tahan. Unfortunately neither of them have a particular big or interesting role, as everything centers around these two brothers. The con is played by Clive Owen, who honestly seemed like he didn't want anything to do with this role. He is emotionless, uneven, and every time he has any kind of long dialogue, I thought I was going to fall asleep. The bottom line, one's a cop, the others a con, I wonder what's going to happen? What happens is exactly what you think is going to happen, so why even bother to watching this extreme disappointment?
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2014
Family violence, brother against brother, crime, redemption, futility, and escape--Blood Ties is a film that treads familiar ground, yet with another sensibility to it. A remake of a French film, and directed by the French Guillaume Canet, Family Ties evokes 70s America and cinema, while also channeling foreign influences of narrative, with an encompassing, wide-angle story. It's a sort of Heat meets We Own the Night, meets the numerous other cop/brother movies, yet with its own unique perspective.

To say that Blood Ties has some clichés is an understatement. It hits on a number of familiar beats, the evasive father, the troubled brother, the disillusioned "right-path" son, and ubiquitous temptation. Yet Blood Ties never revels in these, and doesn't rely on them to tell the story. The brothers, for example, are not simply mirror images of each other with different paths, but are juxtaposed to create a rather interesting view of masculinity. We see the tough, confident, and yet seemingly callous Chris (Clive Owen), with the sensitive, affable, and yet strong willed Frank (Billy Crudup). It's here that the film gets interesting, as it never forces a grand change of personality for either character, yet explores their dynamics in a very real, authentic way. Frank, for example, can never be described as weak or cowardly, his reluctance toward violence comes from strength, from determination, and from perseverance. So, too, does Chris's hard exterior, which is simply an outgrowth of his upbringing, but one that, channeled the right way, can show a deep amount of love and compassion.

Clive Owen's performance is certainly the most standout, but there's also some good supporting work, especially from the female cast. Here, too, the film departs from form. Instead of showing vulnerability and neediness, the women characters in Blood Ties are, though certainly flawed, strong willed and motivated of their own volition. In this way, the film gives strong characterizations to its entire cast, which helps in its rather expansive view. This view sets out to take on the entire family, showing the stark dichotomy of the family on the surface, yet the resounding similarities beneath the surface. This ambition, however, does get the film in to trouble. There's almost too much to tackle. The film tries to utilize childhood flashbacks, which are clunky, and never quite earns all of the notes that it tries to hit. The father issues, for example, are never explored, nor why Chris would take the path he did. There's an animosity beneath the surface that is never fully unearthed. This ambition also results in a number of tonal shifts, with the film trying to balance too much. The most stark problem I had with the film was the last act, in which the film gave in to melodrama than the more mature sensibilities it showed previously.

An overall often impressive, yet flawed piece.

3.5/5 Stars
PantaOz
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2014
This French-American crime thriller directed by Guillaume Canet and fully financed by the French, is a remake of 2008 French thriller Les liens du sang by Jacques Maillot. That French movie was an adaptation of the French novel of the same name by Bruno and Michel Papet. The screenplay for this version was written by Canet and James Gray and somehow the end product was weird and unusual version happening in the '70s... well everything would be ok with me if the camera work was like from the70's, and the technology has improved a lot since then! The best part of this movie belongs to the performances of Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, and Matthias Schoenaerts. Their likable characters and acting skills must be the reason that this film was selected to be screened out of competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

Simple story develops quickly ... after being released from prison, Chris (Clive Owen) tries to do the right thing and stay straight, but that didn't last long because he was almost unable to start a new life and soon returns to his criminal ways. This puts him in direct conflict with his brother Frank (Billy Crudup), a New York cop.

I enjoyed watching the charismatic cast, but story wasn't engaging enough - we stayed spectators only - until the end! The directing too safe, sometimes on the edge of boredom... this is the simplest way to describe what I just watched. If there is nothing better, go for it... it is watchable, and if you are a fan of the cast members - do not miss it!
½ February 5, 2015
Another of these movies with great casts without an equally great script or story, seems to be happening more and more the last few years. It also hurts that the movie looks and feels like the whole current subgenre of "NY cop movie;" basically, it comes down to "been there, seen that" way too many times.
May 5, 2015
You put a bullet into him.

A brother recently released from jail returns home to an established brother that feels like doing right by the law. The recently incarcerated brother returns to the mob life after failing at love and living a normal life. He runs a brothel that puts him and his family in danger.

"Your mother was a bitch."

Guillaume Canet, director of Tell No One, Little White Lies, and Whatever You Say, delivers Blood Ties. The storyline for this picture was just okay for about 75 percent of the movie but really concludes well as the characters evolutions blossom. The acting was better than I anticipated and the cast includes Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, and Lili Taylor.

"Stop judging me!"

Blood Ties was a movie I came across on Netflix and decided to give it a viewing when I saw it starred Zoe Saldana (I'm a fan). She wasn't in this much but the story of the brothers worked very well and I adored how the film ended. I recommend seeing this once as it may be worth a viewing.

"I'll be your wedding present."

Grade: C+
½ April 11, 2015
What a waste of talent.
March 24, 2015
the only thing good about this movie was the classic cars and that's pushing it
½ May 25, 2013
Great on paper but never delivers what we expect. Extremely long, unoriginal (we've seen this story tons of times before), predictable and basically a copy of all gangster movies ever made. For those who watched Les Liens Du Sang, the movie in which Blood Ties is based on, we'll see the exact same thing they did in 2008, except it's in New York. Performances are great because the cast is superb but accents are bizarre (Marion Cotillard is Italian but speaks English with a French accent) and female roles are terrible (Lily Taylor is almost a figurant) and completely dependent on men. Funny since the most interesting thing in this film are women. Costumes and cinematography are quite good and soundtrack is nostalgic, even though it's forced and inadequate sometimes. Anyway, these technical aspects don't compensate the lack of development in the script and lack of creativity of the director, the once promissing Guillaume Canet.
March 16, 2015
For me, any movie that takes place in the 70s seems to drag on for much longer then it should: Boogie Nights, Blow, Donnie Brasco, fucking 3 hours of Zodiac... In the end Crudup holds down the ship on this one and it develops over time. Though sometimes letting things breathe for too long overshadows the point, i cant figure if this worked for or against this film in the end.
January 14, 2015
A good cast overall. Clive Owen's character was a bit of a prick throughout, but the 128 min feature ends on a satisfying note.
October 1, 2014
La pelicula estubo mas o menos.. nada fuera de lo normal... pero QUE SEXY estubo Marion Cotillard en esta movie... la escena del bar estubo de poca...
September 7, 2014
Great plot, awesome acting, huge cast! Lots of unsuspected turns. Reminded me of Goodfellas. Terrific job on this one. Really enjoyed it and would watch it again for sure.
½ August 31, 2014
Okay 70's crime thriller but nothing we haven't seen before.
August 30, 2014
Great story performed brilliantly by the cast of amazing actors.
It is like American Hustle, but with better acting. a better storyline and far more interesting stakes.
Big recommend.
August 21, 2014
After the well-received Little White Lies and Tell No One, French director Guillaume Canet makes his English language debut with a remake of Les liens du sang (2008), a film he originally starred in. Transplanted to Scorsese and Lumet inspired 70's New York streets, the retitled Blood Ties tells a story of rival brothers on different sides of the law. Fresh out of prison, Chris (Clive Owen) is looking to get his life back on track, go straight, make amends with his ex-girlfriend Monica (Marion Cotillard) and all that good stuff, whilst his clean cut brother Frank (Billy Crudup), usually the beacon of the police force, is playing on dangerous ground while shacking up with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), the girlfriend of a thug he's just put behind bars (Matthias Schoenaerts). As Chris tries and fails to stay out of trouble the brothers are set on a collision course - but they need each other's help more than ever before. Also, James Caan is in it.

There is plenty wrong with Blood Ties but, propelled by an all-star cast and lovingly observed period design, it's able to get away with far more than it should. The Coupe DeVilles and Chevrolets purr around city streets above steaming manholes, the Isley Brothers spin on a record player and Clive Owen hulks around the underworld in a leather jacket - it's not a bad little world to spend two hours in. But although this familiarity is the film's charm, it's also ultimately its downfall.

Right from the opening credits on a black screen with the sound of the city heard through an open window we are thrown back to Serpico or Popeye Doyle's apartment. Canet has well understood these surface ticks and small details - but has become so wrapped up in them he's forgotten to actually portray any depth in his characters. They all brood and ache like Scorsese characters but the tortured souls are artificial. While the impressive cast all turn in solid work, they are largely wasted and reduced to the most by-the-numbers dialogue imaginable. The female characters in particular are given next to nothing to do, with Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis and Zoe Saldana seemingly just appearing so their names can adorn the poster. One shining light though is the English language debut of Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts whose intense brooding presence was so perfect in Rust and Bone (2012) and Bullhead (2011). His role here is minor and little more than slickback-gold-chain-bad-dude, but a glimpse of his flawless New York accent is a tantalising hint of far greater things to come.

Storytelling also goes wanting in favour of the slavish homage to Canet's heroes. The fairly linear narrative is treated with a staccato rhythm, and an erratic pace that either crawls or sprints never allows the film to find its centre. There is a catalogue of moments and individually compelling scenes, but without an overall cohesion these just appear as a patchwork pieced together from other sources. Despite these technical flaws Blood Ties still beats with a tangible feeling of the genre and period it has chosen to ape - and plays as decent minor league entertainment. The twists, turns, cinematography and dialogue are all the most expected, but if you love the 70's underworld grit as much as Canet, where's the harm in that. There's no such thing as too many climactic shoot-outs in a packed Grand Central station.
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