Blood Ties Reviews
"Blood Ties" is a historic drama thriller that makes NYC in the 70s coming alive. I reckon with James Gray being involved we see similarities to other movies he has directed, which he didnīt do this time around. I see some similarities to "Carlitoīs Way" as well. With that said I think the plot and story is hardly anything special or for that matter that unique. Itīs slow paced and a bit too long. But, the fact that family is the focus point here thereīs something we all can relate to, and I think everybody involved does a great acting job. I personally think Billy Crudup is a very underrated actor, and I think heīs great here as Frank. Without the great performances "Blood Ties" wouldīve been hardly that rememberable. I like that we get to see the great Marion Cotillard and the equally great Matthias Schoenaerts together in yet another movie, even if they donīt have any scenes together. They just add weight to the film like James Caan. "Blood Ties" is not too shabby, but neither a unique one either.
DVD Movie Review: Blood Ties
Date Viewed: July 2 2014
Directed By Guillaume Canet (Tell No One and Little White Lies)
Screenplay By Guillaume Canet and James Gray, Story By Jacques Maillot, Based on "Les liens du sang" by Jacques Maillot
Starring: Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts, Noah Emmerich, Lili Taylor, Mark Mahoney, Charlie Tahan, Griffin Dunne, Austin Williams and James Caan.
"Blood Ties" maybe a lovely tribute to the crime thrillers from the 70's but it suffers from a familiar narrative and cop drama cliches. It has an incredible cast and it was co-written by James Gray (The Yards and We Own The Night), so I had high expectations for "Blood Ties" but it comes off as a second-rate version of "The Departed".
Giving his best performance since "Children of Men", Clive Owen plays Chris Pierzynski, a fifty-year old criminal who is being released from prison early due to good behavior. After being in jail for 12 years, Chris is living with his brother Frank (Billy Crudup), who is a New York cop. At the same time, Chris and Frank's ailing father Leon (James Caan) just got released from the hospital and he is able to go back home. Chris is also reunited with his former lover, a prostitute named Monica (Marion Cotillard). Chris finally meets the kids he never had, Monica and Chris had two kids together but they never met their dad.
Then we get a subplot involving Frank and his one-time girlfriend, Vanessa (Zoe Saldana). Their relationship gets strained after Frank jails Anthony Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts, of "Rust & Bone"), a thug who's now married to Vanessa. After Anthony gets thrown in jail, Vanessa tries to stay away from Frank but soon they are in love again. While Chris gets a job at a garage, he falls in love with a co-worker named Natalie (an effective Mila Kunis). After they get married, Chris returns to his criminal life and Frank is faced with a choice. Does he take down his own brother and sent him back to jail or let him continue his crime spree.
Set in Brooklyn in the 1970's, the cinematography by Christophe Offenstein is beautiful to look at and the cars look great but the characters and story matter. Based on a French thriller by Jacques Maillot, director and co-writer Guillaume Canet (Tell No One and Little White Lies) borrows elements from crime dramas that are so much better than his heavy-handed period piece. "Blood Ties" was like watching Sidney Lumet directing "Prince of the City" in his sleep. We also get too many subplots and characters, "The Departed" may had too many characters but we understood their motivations and the story was much stronger.
"Blood Ties" premiered at Cannes last year and critics weren't exactly impressed. I wasn't compelled by this cops-and-criminals story either.