Blood Ties Reviews
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.
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.
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!
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."
It is like American Hustle, but with better acting. a better storyline and far more interesting stakes.
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.