Blood Work

Blood Work


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Clint Eastwood has always made jokes about his age. Even in Unforgiven, he was well past his bed time. Now, he's topped the lot by having a heart transplant. What's next? Sheltered housing?

He has a reputation as the fastest director in the West. Where Stanley Kubrick required 60 takes for a single scene, Clint is happy to let it go with one. Sometimes the movie suffers. Not here, because the script has already delivered the coup-de-grace.

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It doesn't start out that way; it starts out alive. The whodunit aspect is genuinely intriguing. What looks like a random killing during a robbery at a convenience store, might have been murder.

Retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb (Eastwood) is made aware of the case by the sister (Wanda de Jesus) of the girl, whose heart beats in his chest. She was shot in the robbery and McCaleb feels it is only right that he should honour her memory by investigating her death.

The piecing together of arbitrary clues - "They lead where they lead," McCaleb remarks, wisely - has a certain fascination. It's everything else that becomes annoying, especially McCaleb's slobbish neighbour (Jeff Daniels), who acts as laid back chauffeur, wisecrack dispenser and hanger-on.

There are shades of Dirty Harry about the story of a serial killer with a personal grudge against a cop. This time it's Clean Terry, whose abiding fear is forgetting to take his tablets.

As in so many loosely bound thrillers, the denouement doesn't add up and the final shoot-out is farcical. The scariest person is Dr Fox (Anjelica Huston), who gives McCaleb severe tickings off for not doing what he is told.

Paul Rodriguez and Dylan Walsh, as unhelpful detectives, are so bad they are almost funny, which may be the point. De Jesus is feisty, which is better than flirty, and, naturally, there is a boy (Mason Lucero), son of the dead sister, who comes to think of McCaleb as..... grandad?

It would be wrong to suggest, after this disappointment, that it's time for Clint to call it a day. He should listen to the doc, maybe, and read better scripts.

Reviewed on: 26 Dec 2002
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Clint Eastwood is a retired FBI profiler who investigates a serial killer, just like Dirty Harry.
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Director: Clint Eastwood

Writer: Brian Helgeland, based on the novel by Michael Connelly

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Wanda de Jesus, Tina Lifford, Paul Rodriguez, Dylan Walsh

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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