Blood

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The word blood, as in the movie “Blood,” can stand for a lot of things. Blood between kin, innocent blood spilled, blood from a murder case long ago – the film is a real twist and turner.

Set in the UK, the story starts off with a narrator talking about his brother, father and being worried about getting ‘swept away’ – and in spite of every precaution the two brothers take, that’s just what happens.

The brothers at the outset have a lot to deal with already – both police detectives, Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie (Stephen Graham) Fairburn have always been under pressure to live up to the reputation of their retired father, Lenny (Brian Cox), who ran the police department and treated his sons harshly by demanding too much and being too hard on them.

When a young girl is killed horribly in a tightly-knit community and left in a public place, Joe and Chrissie (younger brother) think they know who did it, and pursue the main suspect beyond what they should – but their need to live up to their father’s reputation and also Joe’s anger cause them to be involved in their own crime, and then they are basically forced to investigate themselves.

Soon, the situation gets even more complicated – Joe becomes delusional at trying to keep the terrible secret from his wife and teenage daughter, while Chrissie’s conscience causes him to have a near breakdown. And even though their father has dementia (he still comes into the police department to his old desk), does he know the secret that the brothers are keeping? And if so, does Lenny have his own ideas on what to do about it? Not to mention a possible witness who may have seen the brothers in the midst of it all.

As one policeman describes the case, “going to be a black hole, this one,” things go from worse to worse. Joe’s wife and daughter start to question him, and Chrissie’s girlfriend wants answers too. Meanwhile, their friend and colleague Robert (Mark Strong) has his own suspicions and begins to investigate the brothers himself.

All the performances are rock-steady (where has Bettany been, please do more films, would you?) while Strong and Graham keeping you guessing as to what they will do next – only the best kind of actors can pull that off. Cox turns in a moving, complicated performance too.

The production certainly has great credentials to begin with – Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes), Red Production Company and BBC Films, along with a talented screenwriter (Bill Gallagher) and skillful director (Nick Murphy).

The setting is a major factor too, as one crime is committed in some islands which get cut off by the sea which can be accessed when the tide is out. The film was set partly on Hilbre Island, on the westerly tip of the Wirral peninsula between the Rivers Dee and Mersey – the sense of isolation and the mystery of the area added much more to the movie.

The word may be overused, but I’ll use it again – “Blood” is a gem of a film, which stays in your mind a long time after – not only because of the tension and rough situations, but also because there is some redemption there, as well.