The Forgiveness of Blood - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Forgiveness of Blood Reviews

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October 4, 2015
An interesting look at how old cultural practices meet modern mind sets. The film has a great documentary feel and surprisingly good performances from an inexperienced cast. But the story and plot moves at an anemic pace that makes it hard to stay interested at times. It reflects the boredom the characters must feel being stuck inside their house.
½ August 13, 2015
Not crazy about this one. It does give us a nice picture of present day Albania living in century old traditions/kahoun/besa and the two children are really the star of the movie, but just didn't move me in the way I thought it would.
February 4, 2015
Even if you aren't glued to your screen, The Forgiveness of Blood will certainly keep you thinking long after it concludes.
October 18, 2014
The Forgiveness of Blood is a great foreign film that gives a great example of what it means to be trapped. The acting is great, even though I don't speak that language, I know that they are trying to give a great performance. The plot might not be that engaging to know, but it's the characters that you would know. I felt sorry for the characters and it changes them a bit because they are just bored. It's interesting to see where it's going despite it mostly taking place in their house. The characters bicker a lot which get some viewers annoyed, but I didn't get annoyed and I understand why they do that. It's not for everybody as it is a slow pace film, but it's well made and a great film that you might relate to the characters.
September 21, 2014
Director Joshua Marston tried to be as meticulous as possible in understanding the unwritten laws of Albania, ones that force the males of a family to hide when one of them is targeted for revenge. To outsiders, it is almost baffling. The film's themes focus on contrasts, of young and old, tradition and modern times, law and unwritten law, and more. It is an intriguing film.
½ November 28, 2013
I remember reading a little bit ago about blood feuds still being a thing in Albania, so I was really interested in this. And for the most part, it didn't disappoint. It is a really fascinating story of a part of the world that is modern, but is still rooted in tradition. It's also about what happens when tradition and the modern world butt heads. Something else I really picked up on was the younger generation paying for the older generation's mistakes. Nik and Rudina are two high schoolers that are forced to drop everything in their lives because of something their father and uncle did. It was frustrating just to watch, so I can't imagine being involved in that situation. Tristan Halilaj and Sindi Lacej make very strong debuts in this as Nik and Rudina. You see the both of them struggling to help their family, but also wanting to live their own lives. The only complaints I really have are about pace. There were times where the action was very slow. I get that it was supposed to show the passing of time, but it went on a little too long for me. Also, as an outside viewer, you have to play a game of catch up. They don't explain any of the technical terms when it comes to the feuds, and you kind of just have to figure it out contextually. Other than that though, I thought this was a fascinating story that was told very well.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2013
In "The Forgiveness of Blood," Mark(Refet Abazi) has a running argument with Sokol(Veton Osmani) about taking a short cut over his land that used to belong to Mark's grandfather. One day, that erupts into bloodshed that leaves Sokol dead, Mark's brother Zef(Luan Jaha) in jail and Mark on the run. In order to avoid reprisals from Sokol's family, Mark's house goes into lockdown, making a special point to keep Mark's teenaged son Nik(Tristan Halilaj) home from school. That leaves Rudina(Sindi Lacej) to take care of the family business of delivering bread every day.

"The Forgiveness of Blood" is not so much suspenseful, as it is filled with dread, proving that in a state of siege you don't need zombies or Daleks to pull it off. And in most scenarios like this, the movie would belong to Nik but surprisingly not in this case, as while he certainly has a right to complain about a situation that could possibly drag on for years and not of his own making, he is also more than a little petulant at the same time, even managing to make matters worse at one point.(To the movie's vast credit, it does not show the central incident, not allowing the viewer to assign blame, even though otherwise we see events almost exclusively from the point of view of Mark's family.) No, it is Rudina who rises to the occasion, even showing some serious entrepreneurial skills. That works in favor of the movie gently subverting the patriarchy, this one in Albania where horsecarts and smart phones co-exist on unpaved roads.
September 3, 2013
This is a beautiful, rich film, creating a compelling world around the characters forced to deal with ancient honor codes in a modern society.
July 18, 2013
Beautifully filmed, wretchedly boring.
½ July 16, 2013
Technically speaking, it's solid. But, their was hardly any interest during the course of several scenes of bickering.
½ July 7, 2013
In Albania, specially in the north there's still actual violent family feud going on between different families, this is refereed to as "Gjakmarrja".
May 26, 2013
Writer / Director Joshua Marston thoughtfully offers point and counterpoint on a complex axis. He presents an intelligent examination of those mature enough to honor the traditions of the Kanun (a set of traditional ancient Albanian tribal laws) and those young enough to be susceptible to the allure of a new world of cell phones, satellite TV and video games.

Do we give in to our core selfishness and call it "freedom", or do we sacrifice our individuality for the honor and well being of our family and community? Are our values those of the brash and compulsive Nik or of the quietly selfless Rudina? Is the blood feud one unfortunate aspect of a richly textured traditional Albanian identity, or do we abandon it for a superficial new world of western market economy and its equally harsh set of rules? Marston skillfully presents each perspective yet does not pass judgement.

Sindi Lacej is particularly effective as Rudina; she shines her special light on another layer of this film, the relative value modern Albanian culture continues to place on male and female children.

Marston has followed "Maria Full of Grace" with another minor masterpiece!
½ February 28, 2013
I would hate to live like this... again, eye-opening to see how other cultures are...
February 24, 2013
This recieved high marks and a critic wrote that it was a thriller...Pretty dry and nothin happens is what i saw.
January 5, 2013
Not bad although a tad on the dreary side.
½ December 20, 2012
A unique perspective on law and order in rural Albania. Unfortunately, this movie was quite boring and could have easily been 30 minutes shorter.
November 25, 2012
Fascinating film. Loved it
November 24, 2012
Marston once again shines through with his ability to tell the world a story of something sinister that is virtually unknown to outsiders. The film is well and evenly paced and the cinematography expresses the tragedy of the old vs the new as much as any of the dialogue. This film generates a great deal of emotion in the viewer and will stick with you long after the credits finish rolling.
½ November 21, 2012
What stands out, aside from Sindi Lacej's subtle & powerful performance, is where, why & how this story is told. This isn't a corner of the world observed very often.
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