Blood Ties (2013)

Blood Ties (2013)
  • Time: 144 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Guillaume Canet
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Marion Cotillard, James Caan, Matthias Schoenaerts


Adapted by director Guillame Canet and co-writer James Gray, the film is based on Jacques Maillot’s 2008 French film Rivals (“Les liens du sang”). Set in New York, 1974, the story largely follows two brothers; Frank (Billy Crudup) a police officer and Chris (Clive Owen) his ex-con brother who’s just been let out of jail and needs to find a job or he’ll find himself back behind bars.

One comment

  • Blood Ties tells the story of two brothers, one cop and one convict, making their way through their dysfunctional lives in the early 1970’s. Director Guillaume Canet gives the audience an unabashed view of what life looked like then, including the bad hair, tacky clothes, and even the awful paint colors on most interior walls. He observes, rather than explains, and lets the viewer absorb the uncomfortable interactions between the characters, rather than force those moments onto those watching. He even incorporates music of the period into the story, in a Scorsese like way.

    Clive Owen plays Chris, who is just released from prison and is having hard time adapting back into society, trying to keep on the straight and narrow and not violate the terms of his parole. This is not helped by the allure of getting sucked back into the world of violent crime, as many of the people he runs into in the real world are criminals and/or ex cons. Adding to his stresses are his cold ex-wife, played by Marion Cotillard, who demands years of back child support payments soon after Chris’s release. Having seen Owen in mostly strict dramatic roles, this role, while also dramatic, gives Owen a chance to smile a bit, exploring a range of emotions and embracing his inner rebel, reminiscent of a Nicholas Cage.

    On the flip side of the family, Billy Crudup plays Chris’s brother Frank, a cop trying to reconnect with his ex, played by Zoe Saldana. His life is difficult as well, with a somewhat meek personality not particularly suited for law enforcement, and trying to help Chris fit back into the real world. The cast is rounded out by James Caan, playing the brothers’ ailing dad, and Mila Kunis, playing Chris’s young love interest.

    The expectation of this movie should be set in that the audience is watching a drama, not an action or cops-and-robbers movie. Having said that, I found Crudup’s performance understated, but that may have been the vibe that director Canet was looking for.

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