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Blood Ties

by Louise Adams
Thursday Jul 10, 2014
Blood Ties

"Blood Ties" is the first English language film by French actor/director Guillaume Canet, who co-wrote the predictable screenplay with James Gray.

Both scribes seem to enjoy having actors scream "fuck" pretty much non-stop, and make good actors like James Caan, playing sickly father Leon, say trite lines like "Stay out of the past, son, and live your own life."

"Two brothers: one's a cop, one's a rogue, and they fail to connect."

Cop Frank (porn-'stached Billy Crudup) takes in his older brother Chris (brooding Clive Owen) when he's released from a prison sentence for murder in 1974 Brooklyn. Each man involves a woman in his spiraling-out-of-control life: Frank stalks Vanessa (fraught, weepy Zoe Saldana) and her traumatized daughter, and Chris sucks Natalie (flat Mila Kunis) into his increasingly violent life, replacing the mother of his children and addict/escort Monica (Marion Cotillard, looking like an older version of Kunis). As the body count grows, we care less and less.

The one Blu-ray feature is a short "Behind the Scenes" documentary, filled with as much hackneyed dialogue as the film, which was shot on location in 2012. Wearing a Jeff Beck shirt and speaking in French and English, Canet describes the plot as "two brothers: one's a cop, one's a rogue, and they fail to connect." He adds, "You can't choose your relatives," and explains that since the film was financed in Europe, half of the actors are European. The most interesting segment is seeing how a guitarist and drummer score the film while watching it, yet, sadly, you can't choose to un-watch this movie when you get the end.

"Blood Ties"
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Louise Adams is a Chicago freelance writer at www.treefalls.com (and a nom de guerre).


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