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
The story opens in 1974 but the song playing in the background on the record player is "New York Groove" from Ace Frehley's 1978 solo release and even the original by the band Hello was not released until 1975. 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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Very middle of the road and ultimately quite dull wannabe crime epic
The cast of Blood Ties is impressive enough. Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, James Caan, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillard is an impressive collection of talent but I'm not sure if any of them is terribly convincing in their roles. Crudup and Owen didn't really have the kind of chemistry on the screen you'd expect from brothers. There's really no bad acting here but nothing great or memorable either, just average. It was kind of funny seeing Jamie Hector (Marlo from the Wire) as a cop, a bit of a miscast because it was too distracting.
The plot didn't provide any surprises and it was very generic. The central idea is as old as it gets: Two brothers, one a criminal and the other a cop. We've seen this before, haven't we? I was just about interested for the first hour but I became increasingly bored when it hit me how dry and tedious the whole thing started to look. There's nothing new, edgy or clever about this script really and it lacks energy and flow. The running time was a bit too long for this kind of film and the pacing suffers as a result. It wants to be an epic crime drama but ultimately fails at this.
Cinematography felt "normal", whatever that means. I guess it achieved that 70's grainy feel successfully. The few action scenes were quite well done and they had some zest. Too bad you I really didn't care about the characters because the whole thing just felt so bland overall. I think the film makers didn't want to take any risks with the movie because everything was just so average down the line.
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