New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Reluctantly waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favor Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance - he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris' inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it's already too late, as the brothers' destiny is bound together, forever. Written by
I just returned from a screening of this film, and I feel the need to say that it was a really pleasing experience.
At first I had some doubts about it since the first reviews I'd read about the film were not too promising. It was supposed to be decent yet too long, and not really compelling. I'm very glad to say that I ignored these and went with my gut feeling to go see it anyway. Thoroughly well executed as well in music score as visual cinematography, the real standout in this one is the fact that it really gets you to understand both sides of the brother's stories. It is really hard to tell who's wrong and who's right by the time you get to the end of the screening. An obvious call as it may seem at first but when the chips fall as they do one might have to reconsider their opinion. The excellence of this movie is the way in which it manages to blend ethical questions, family ties, and personal beliefs in a way that makes perfect sense without wanting to be overly self-aware or condemning. It is and remains a tale of two brother's with diverging paths and beliefs in their respective lives and how they interact with each other and their shared environment. Praise to Clive Owen for portraying his character the way he does, he really fits the part and gives a more real and deeper dimension to the role. Every other actor and actress' portrayal is also quite spot on, and even the 'bad guys' in it feel relatable. It has a long runtime but to me it never felt as such, it doesn't bore and in my opinion its runtime seems necessary to let you see every aspect of the story. A solid character study of two brother's that want to like each other and do so in their own way but struggle with their different views on life and the fine line between right and wrong.
Maybe "Blood Ties" isn't the best film that has been released this year but it's solid both in story as in execution. It certainly deserves better than 'moderate' reviews.
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