06th Nov2014

‘Blood Ties’ DVD Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Matthias Schoenaerts, James Caan, Noah Emmerich, Lili Taylor, Domenick Lombardozzi, John Ventimiglia,Griffin Dunne | Written by Guillaume Canet, James Gray | Directed by Guillaume Canet


Two brothers, Chris (Owen), recently out of prison and Frank (Crudup), a respected policeman, are on either side of the law. As Chris tries to clean up his act and reconnect with his family he finds himself low on funds and rejected by society. Will he turn back to his old life and force Frank to act, splitting their family in two forever? Facing off in 1970’s Brooklyn, Blood Ties looks to see if blood trumps money when it comes to family and organised crime.

What I liked about Blood Ties was that the seventies was dripping from every corner of the film. The music, the clothes, the hair cuts and the attitudes of the characters. Never at any point did I feel that this story was trying desperately to seem older than it was and never was the believability of the characters shattered. Of course, with familiar faces such as Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillard you should definitely expect a high level of acting from this film and it was definitely delivered. You’ve got everything you would expect from your standard ‘Organised Crime’ film too, shoot-outs, police chases, dodgy looking people in dodgy looking bars. These more exciting moments are spaced between a lot of angst and yelling as Chris and Frank go about their lives which seemed to be slowly falling apart around them.

Which leads me onto the main problem I found with this film. Yes, there were some cool action sequences, yes I felt the ending was very good and wrapped up the story neatly and yes the characters were believable, but all of that doesn’t mean much if the film is boring. I found this film painfully slow and quite an effort to get through. The story itself focusses a lot on family ties some blood, some not, and the relationships between them. Everybody is yelling at everybody, no one is happy and so on. It establishes the characters in such a slow way that the real meat of the story doesn’t really kick in until you are an hour into the film. This is a two hour film too, so you really have to stick with it if you want to understand what it going on. I wasn’t really hooked by the plot and if I wasn’t reviewing it, I would have given up and done something more interesting, like watching the milk in my fridge slowly go off.

So the film isn’t the best. Lots of points for style and Seventies awesomeness, but all those points are then lost in a plot which isn’t that engaging and makes the film a bit of a chore.

Blood Ties is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Lions Gate Home Entertainment.


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