French director, Gullaume Canet’s, “Blood Ties,” which was released on Redbox this week, is a languid attempt to reach classic gangster movie status. While the movie has its moments, it never really hits the mark.
A remake from the 2008 French movie “Les Liens du Sang” (“Rivals”) relies on the much over-used “good brother ─ bad brother” theme. Chris (Clive Owen) is the volatile criminal sort who has just spent nine years in jail, and his younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), is the goody two shoes cop who allows his brother to board with him while he is looking for work. While the two are blood brothers, it is obvious that an uneasy relationship exist.
A condition of Chris’ parole is to find work, so Frank sets him up with a menial job in a garage, which is promptly blown off by the frustrated felon. Not only is Chris frustrated with his employment, his attempt to reunite with his drug addled prostitute wife (Marion Cotillard) appears to be going nowhere. He hooks up with the clerk from the garage (Mila Kunis) and now seems to have a new purpose in life. How will Chris support his girlfriend? A return to crime seems imminent.
At this point, we know that Chris is a criminal; we just don’t know how really crazy the man is. A series of super violent events follow as Chris attempts to achieve classical gangster status, while Frank has to deal with some nut named Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is trying to kill him and his wife.
While watching this, I couldn’t help but feel that I was viewing a second rate Scorsese movie. Clive Owen has some type European Brooklyn accent; Italian mobsters look and speak like Russians; and the sound track has some terrible 70’s music that doesn’t even sequence the movie. “Blood Ties” has a plot, and there is some action; but it is like watching a spaghetti western in the big city.
My Rating: 3 of 5 Blood Brothers.