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
This family crime drama is set during the 1970s. In a supporting role in this film is actor James Caan, who starred as Sonny Corleone in the two 1970s Academy Award winning Best Picture family crime dramas, 'The Godfather' (1972) and 'The Godfather: Part II' (1974). 'Blood Ties' is set in the year of 1974 which is when the second 'Godfather' film premiered. See more »
Subway logo used from 2002 to 2016 Visible in background at the junk yard while Chris is banging his head. See more »
[Frank & Valenti are on a stakeout. Valenti slurps the last of his drink and tosses the cup into the back seat]
You do understand that this is my car, not yours, right?
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gritty film set in '70s NYC with some great acting and a derivative plot
"Blood Ties" is a remake of the 2008 film "Rivals" which starred this movie's director, Guillaume Canet. James Caan, one of the stars of this film, helped him infuse the translation with some New York lingo.
The movie is set in the '70s, with Chris (Clive Owen) just being released from prison after 12 years. His brother Frank (Billy Crudup) is a police officer who lets him stay at his place and helps Chris get a job. In one of the first scenes, the boys' father (James Caan) is released from the hospital after having a lung removed. He is being cared for by their sister Marie (Lili Taylor).
Chris doesn't keep his job, but he does get a girlfriend out of it (Mila Kunis). He has no money so he reverts to crime again. Apparently his years in prison have made him a ruthless killer. When Frank recognizes him at a brutal robbery of an armored truck, his own career is threatened.
Frank, meanwhile, is still in love with Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whom he parted ways with, and she accuses him of stalking her. And Chris' ex-wife (Marion Cotillard) turns tricks; she wants money from him, supposedly for child support, but he knows it's for drugs.
This is the age-old story of two brothers, one (Frank) who grew up adoring Chris, who traveled to the wrong side of the tracks at an early age, and the decisions they must make as adults as they try to get their lives together.
The family dynamics are terrific and ring true, with Marie and her father desperately wanting the brothers to get along and the family to be back together; meanwhile, Frank and Chris fight verbally and physically. James Caan gives a wonderful performance as a frail, sick man who has trouble expressing his emotions. His scene with Frank is especially touching.
The acting overall is excellent from this fine cast. Clive Owen and Billy Crudup are two favorites of mine, and both play the different aspects of their characters beautifully. Crudup has the more difficult role, torn between his love for his brother and his work. As Chris, Owen is a pragmatic sociopath. He goes out and gets what he wants without any qualms of conscience, attempting to manipulate Frank with a little grin. All that brings them together is their love for their father and sister, but it's not enough and it's too late.
This movie made next to no money and played only 28 theaters. It's not the most earth-shattering film you'll ever see, and parts are on the slow side, but it definitely deserved being seen by a wider audience and have better marketing. It's a shame that the fine work these people did was seen by so few. Perhaps as a rental it will do better.
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