7 items from 2014
Blood Ties, 2014.
Directed by Guillaume Canet.
Two brothers – one a cop, the other a con – discover that not everything is black and white when it comes to family loyalty.
Coming from the same place as Goodfellas and Carlito’s Way, Blood Ties is a crime drama set against the backdrop of 1970s New York and centres around the relationship between brothers Chris and Frank Pierzynski. Chris (Clive Owen) has served nine years for murder when he is released on the condition that he can get a job and go straight. His younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup) is a detective in the NYPD and sets him up with a job and a place to live but old habits die hard and Chris returns to his old ways to make ends meet. »
- Gary Collinson
Having made films in the English language as an actor, Guillaume Canet is yet to make a film in the States as a director, but now remakes a film he once starred in, to bring us Blood Ties. We had the great pleasure in speaking to Canet, who discussed why he chose this particular story, why he has turned down big Hollywood scripts in the past years, and what it was like directing his partner, Marion Cotillard.
No, to be honest, it was the first time in my life I was reading a script as an actor and that I had this weird feeling when I was reading it, I really wanted to direct it. Which was weird for me. »
- Stefan Pape
★★★☆☆French actor-turned-director Guillaume Canet's first foray into English-language cinema, Blood Ties (2013) is a self-consciously styled paean to 1970s cinema - namely the New York crime yarn. Though adapted from Bruno and Michel Papet's novel Les liens du sang, it bears many of the trademarks of co-writer James Gray's own work as a director; namely fraught sibling relationships and the testing loyalty between family and the law. It's nothing that hasn't been seen numerous times before, and despite the injection of a starry line-up of some of the finest actors working today (and Clive Owen), the creative duo fail to bring anything particularly innovative or new to an already crowded table.
- CineVue UK
Considering the acclaim that French director Guillaume Canet has rightly received for his previous endeavours, Tell No One and Little White Lies, it became increasingly likely that he would make the move across the Atlantic, and test his abilities in the States – a move he has now made with his first English production, Blood Ties. However here is a film overwhelmed by its influences, feeling more like a homage to the work of Sidney Lumet and John Cassavetes, rather than find its own, unique voice.
Blood Ties is a remake of the 2008 production Les Liens Du Sang – which Canet himself took s starring role in – and the director has since moved this story to New York in the 1970s, where we meet cop Frank (Billy Crudup), who unwittingly puts up his brother Chris (Clive Owen) following the latter’s release from a lengthy jail sentence. The pair have a distinct conflict of interests, »
- Stefan Pape
The 1970s-set crime drama Blood Ties is a redundant American adaptation (by the French director Guillaume Canet) of the French film Les Liens du Sang based on the French novel of the same name. As can be inferred by the inane title, the film focuses on a familial relationship tested by criminal activities. In this case, it’s two estranged brothers: the cop Frank (Billy Crudup) and the criminal Chris (Clive Owen).
- John Keith
Billy Crudup is one of those actors who refuses to be pigeonholed. He’s comfortable on stage and on screen, in big-budget Hollywood productions and modest indie films. He’s played bad guys, good guys, tough guys, sensitive guys. But it’s fair to say that he’s most attracted to roles where he gets to play some kind of flawed anti-hero. In his latest film, Blood Ties, which is part gritty crime thriller, part family drama, Crudup does exactly that, as a New York cop in 1974 who struggles against his ex-con brother (Clive Owen) after he’s released from prison. It’s a remake of the 2008 French film, Les Liens du Sang, which was itself based on a book. Directed by Guillaume Canet, a French star in his own right who actually originated the role Crudup plays in the American version, the film also stars James Caan, as the family’s imperfect patriarch, »
- Cindy White
I caught Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was not impressed, beginning my review as follows: There are so many secondary plot threads and a multitude of characters in Blood Ties the film finds itself sputtering along, stopping and starting every 5-10 minutes as characters are introduced and re-introduced. There's absolutely no way for the story to work within the confines of a two-and-a-half-hour movie as it either needs to be cut down to two hours or less or extended into a five-to-six-hour miniseries or more. It's a shame, really, because there are some fantastic moments within this film just as much as there are some moments and casting decisions I really could have done without, but all-in-all the end result is a bit of a mess. Well, fast forward to the Toronto Film Festival four months later and Canet apparently cut something »
- Brad Brevet
7 items from 2014
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