Director Nick Murphy’s British crime drama, entitled Blood, is a riveting and disturbing study of the consequences of guilt, and how your secret sins will ultimately find you out.
Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham play Joe and Chrissie Fairburn, two well-known and respected detectives who are investigating the horrific murder of a young girl in their town. In the search for the killer, they find a suspect in a convicted pedophile named Jason Buleigh, who has served his time and managed to find religion in the process. Buleigh is awkward and possibly mentally handicapped. A search of his apartment confirms that he had followed the victim on more than one occasion, and had also taken pictures of her from afar, as well as many other young girls. Still, there is not enough evidence to convict him; however, Joe Fairburn is convinced that Buleigh is guilty, especially since his interrogation left much to be desired.
Joe Fairburn lives in the shadow of his father, a legendary hot-headed detective named Lenny, who was known for his brutal interrogations. Years have passed since his glory days, and Lenny now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, his memory coming and going as it sees fit. Both Joe and Chrissie take care of their father, who always tells them, “When you fuck up, it should hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, something’s wrong. You should quit your job and become a window washer.” With his father’s voice ringing in his ears, Joe is bound and determined to find the killer. He won’t let this one get away.
One night, as Joe drives home from a bar with Lenny and Chrissie, he happens to stop at the local chapel where Buleigh resides. Joe and Chrissie take Buliegh to a secluded area on the islands, and Joe attempts to force a confession out of him in a drunken stupor. It goes horribly wrong, and Joe strikes Buleigh across the face with a shovel, killing him instantly. Both Joe and Chrissie bury his body at the site, as Lenny sleeps in the backseat of the car, oblivious. Joe and Chrissie rush home to burn their clothes.
From this point on, the two men become consumed with guilt. Day after day, they question their actions, as well as the motives which led to those actions. Was Buleigh truly the murderer? Is there any way that this heinous act could be justified? As time goes on, new evidence surfaces concerning the murder of the young girl. Joe and Chrissie look on at one another, each man knowing their sin, and both of them inching towards the breaking point.
This exploration of internal guilt is at the heart of Blood, and it is utterly devastating. We watch as the wall which Joe has built around himself begins to gradually crumble, before it finally comes crashing down in one massive heap. Paul Bettany is completely believable as Joe. We feel for this man. After all, he is a wonderful husband and father. His colleagues love him dearly. In acknowledging his guilt, he may be able to find freedom. Stephen Graham is heartbreaking as Chrissie, the tender hearted younger brother. He lacks the temper that plagues both his father and his brother, and is extraordinarily compassionate. He is a tragic character. Brian Cox is brilliant, as usual. He takes a somewhat underwritten character, and delivers a memorable performance. Mark Strong is quite strong in a supporting role as Robert Seymour, a colleague and friend of the family who acts as the conscience and the voice of reason in all situations. Nick Murphy’s direction is top-notch, and he wisely takes a subtle approach with this material. He allows his characters to develop at a natural pace, and he definitely has a good handle on building mood and creating atmosphere.
Image Entertainment has released Blood on Blu-ray and DVD. It is available for purchase at Amazon.com. The Blu-ray contains subtitles for the hard of hearing.