Some of the most brilliant films in history have focused on the criminal underground in one fashion or another. This genre hasn’t quite packed the punch it once did in regards to quality filmmaking, but that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of them still coming out. The latest Blood Ties features a great cast including Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan and Lili Taylor but does it bring something special to the genre to help stand out or will it get whacked before it’s all over?
Blood Ties follows two brothers on opposite sides of the law in 1974 New York. When one is released from prison following a gangland murder his now cop brother is hoping that he has changed and is willing to give him a chance, sharing his home, finding him a job, and helping him reconnect with his children and ex-wife, but his decent back into a life of crime drives them apart once again but their blood and destinies are bound together forever. As far as performances go everyone here does a fine job, but the real issue with this film as a whole is the pacing. The film limps along without ever having that breakthrough moment to make it more interesting or feel fulfilled in the end. The cast work great together and all bring their A-game, really trying to deliver a strong film and thanks to them the film does manage to work way better than it would have with a lesser known cast. The story is perfect for this genre and makes for one that could have plenty of great twist and turns, but never really goes anywhere. There is the underlying aspect of family and redemption that is the overall concept to the film itself, but the slow pacing and lack of any real punch makes it hard to really keep any emotional connection with it as a whole.
With the strong cast and a genre that always has a fan base waiting for some sort of take on the crime genre this film is likely to find its audience and will surely leave people with varying opinions. If you are one of these fans, then give the film a chance, if for no other reason so that we can get more great crime dramas in production.