While the story centres on twisted moral dilemmas, this 1970s-set thriller takes such a hesitant, internalised approach that if never lets viewers under the characters' skin. As a result, there's virtually no spark of real life here, despite the presence of several fine actors and a twisty plot that focusses on how decisions affect relationships. It's an oddly muted approach to events that really should have a much stronger emotional jolt.
It's 1974 Brooklyn, where Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released after 10 years in prison. His police detective brother Frank (Billy Crudup) offers help with finding a place to stay, getting a job and escaping his former life of crime, but the options are limited. While trying to reconnect with his junkie-prostitute ex Monica (Marion Cotillard), Chris also begins dating the younger Natalie (Mila Kunis). And he finds himself drifting back into his old gangster role. This causes a conflict of interest for Frank in his work as a cop, especially since he's further compromised by having an affair with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whose boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) he's just put in jail.
Filmmaker Guillaume Canet is remaking the 2008 French thriller Rivals (in which he played the Frank character), and he recreates the period beautifully, shooting the film in a grainy 1970s style that emphasises character over action. So it's odd that the characters feel so thinly written, with most of the ambiguity drained from each moral issue they face. Much of this is because everyone is pushing their emotions away and internalising their thought processes so no one else can see them. But this leaves the audience out in the cold. And as a result, everything feels obvious and inevitable, which makes it impossible to get involved as events escalate. It's as if these people are tragic losers, so no amount of sympathy will save them.
Continue reading: Blood Ties Review
Frank is a remarkable cop with a lot to look forward to in his life, but as happy as he is, he still has major worries for the people around him. His brother Chris has just been released from prison after a gang-related murder several years ago. Frank wants to make sure Chris stays on the straight and narrow as he rebuilds his shattered life, and offers him shelter, a job and an opportunity to restore his relationships with his former wife Monica and his children. However, Chris also finds himself reconnecting with some old 'friends' and it soon becomes clear that he has no intention of living straight. All Frank wants is a happy and secure family, but if he keeps trying to save his wayward brother's back from the law, he could find himself facing an uncertain future in the force.
'Blood Ties' is the Hollywood re-make of Jacques Maillot's 2008 French film 'Les liens du sang' which is also adapted from the novel by Bruno and Michel Papet. It has been directed by Guillaume Canet ('Little White Lies', 'Tell No One', 'Whatever You Say') and co-written by James Gray ('Two Lovers', 'We Own the Night', 'The Yards') and is due to appear in theatres on March 21st 2014.
Zoe Saldana, Billy Crudup, Noah Emmerich, Guillaume Canet, Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Jamie Hector, Lili Taylor and Domenick Lombardozz - (L-R) Zoe Saldana, Billy Crudup, Noah Emmerich, Guillaume Canet, Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Jamie Hector, Lili Taylor and Domenick Lombardozz attends "Blood Ties" Red Carpet during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France.. - Cannes, France - Monday 20th May 2013
Clive Owen, Mariom Cotillard, James Cann, Billy Crudup, Guillaume Canet, Zoe Salanda and Noah Emmerich - (L-R) Clive Owen, Mariom Cotillard,James Cann,Billy Crudup, Guillaume Canet, Zoe Salanda & Noah Emmerich attend "Blood Ties" Red Carpet during the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 20, 2013 in Cannes, France.. - Cannes, France - Monday 20th May 2013
James Caan, Zoe Saldana, Billy Crudup, Noah Emmerich, Guillaume Canet, Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Jamie Hector, Lili Taylor, Domenick Lombardozzi and Mark Mahoney - 66th Cannes Film Festival -Blood Ties - premiere - Cannes, France - Saturday 1st January 2000
Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche play the unfaithful and sexually obsessed men from the romantic country of France in this racy but hilarious French comedy. With the theme of sexual infidelity being the movie's core subject, we see the primal instincts take place in every part of their lives; hotels, sex addiction clinics, glamorous nightclubs in Paris and Sin City itself, Las Vegas. From ridiculous excuses to time honoured tricks, these men will say and do anything to live a sexually absorbed life kept apart from suspicious partners.
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Writer Joanna and real estate agent Michael have been married for four years and live in a modest apartment in New York. When Joanna accompanies Michael to a party, she is worried to find him deep in conversation with his beautiful colleague, Laura. Joanna is frightened that Michael might be cheating on her and she confronts him about it. Michael assures his wife that he isn't and the couple reconcile.
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