Blood Ties (2013)
Directed by: Guillaume Canet
Written by: Bruno Papet, Eric Veniard, Guillaume Canet, Jacques Maillot, James Gray, Michel Papet, Pierre Chosson
Starring: Billy Crudup, Clive Owen, James Caan, Lili Taylor, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana
BLOOD TIES (2013)
Directed by Guillaume Canet
Two brothers, Chris and Frank, are reunited when Chris is released from prison. His younger brother Frank, a NYC cop, manages to secure him a job at a local car salesroom. With two children he’s never seen for 12 years, a junkie prostitute ex, no money and a promising love interest with a young woman named Valerie who works at the showroom, can Chris resist the life of crime and the mega bucks that go with it?
Meanwhile, his brother Frank has his own issues with his job threatened by the arrival of his jailbird brother Chris in his life. He also faces inner conflict as his passion for an old flame reignites but with Frank convicting her current partner for theft, will he ever regain her love?
Set in 1970’s New York, Brooklyn in particular, BLOOD TIES is a solid drama that deals with numerous themes including relationships, crime, careers and family. The main focus is the paths of the two brothers, Chris and Frank. One is a convict and the other is a cop, with Blood Ties exploring how the brothers co-exist and how it affects their lives and relationship with one another. With each of the brothers experiencing their own issues within their personal life, the viewer gets to meet a variety of characters central to their lives. When it boils down to it though, the main point of the movie is: is blood thicker than water? Despite all their differences, is their bond stronger than those around them and will they stay loyal to one another?
BLOOD TIES features an impressive cast line up. Clive Owen stars as the charming crook Chris, a man who wants prospects and a future for himself, his kids and his new girlfriend (Mila Kunis). With society looking down on a man who’s been in prison, he finds getting work a struggle. Will it be one that leads him back into a life of crime? Marion Cotillard plays Chris’ junkie prostitute ex and mother to his children. With her breathing down his neck, demanding child support, Chris needs to make some important decisions about his future. His younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup) faces flack from his bosses at the police station over allowing criminal Chris to co-habit with him. Meanwhile, he can’t stop thinking about single mother Vanessa (Zoe Saldana) who he once had a relationship with but ended because of interracial prejudices. After locking up her current partner for theft, Frank has an uphill battle in order to remain friends.
One of things I love about this film, other than the gripping and well-played out narrative, is the look and feel of the movie. The filmmakers have hit the nail on the head with their 70’s New York. Not only does the film convincingly look like it’s set in the 70’s, the actual grain of the transfer looks 70s too. The styles, the hair and make-up, costumes, set design, the cars, the streets and even the rubbish strewn across the road make it authentic. Some other modern movies that try to recreate the 70’s still look like modern movies, but the French filmmakers of Blood Ties ought to pat themselves on the back for making one of the most authentic 70’s period movies made in the modern era.
Though this is a family and relationship drama with a criminal undertone, BLOOD TIES will appeal to lovers of all genres (maybe except chick flicks). It’s gritty and real, playing an honest portrayal of a family at war with each other and themselves.
An impeccable cast and attention to detail makes BLOOD TIES a must-watch!