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
Blood is thicker than water is a proverb that might be out of place in today's independent, and nuclear world. But the same is the heart and soul of French-American crime thriller Blood Ties. The movie itself is a remake of the 2008 French movie, Les IIens du sang by Jacques Maillot, which in turn is an adaptation of a French novel by Bruno and Michel Papet.
Two brothers on the opposite sides of the law is a plot done to death, and almost invariably the brothers fatefully clash in a bitter end. Not so in Blood Ties. On being released from prison, Chris tries to lead a straight life, but is unable to do so, and soon goes back to his criminal roots. This impacts his police brother Frank, but when faced with a choice between his brother and his career, Frank, in a twist from generic plots, chooses the former. The feeling is mutual, till the end.
Blood Ties may not be a breakthrough movie in itself, but it is powerful cinema nonetheless. Requires some patience as the plot builds up. The setting is the hippie 70s, with big muscle cars, sideburns, cocaine, and racism dotting the canvas. The eclectic cast consisting of Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cottiliard, Mila Kunis, James Caan, Noah Emmerich, Zoe Saldana is on song. The carefully chosen musical track adds to the experience.
Even though there are the customary car chases, bank robberies, and murders, this is not a big bang popcorn action flick. Rather a measured crime drama, with realistic violence. Enjoyable when you are in the mood for quality cinema- 7/10
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