In essence a British TV movie masquerading as a big-screen experience, Blood still manages to pack a pretty decent punch.

It is nothing we haven’t seen before (in fact, we have seen it all many times over), but an impressive cast help lift what could be a humdrum thriller into something substantially more impressive.

Leading the way are Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham as detective brothers, knee-deep in a case involving a brutally murdered young girl.

Although the pair have made their names in their department, they still labour under the shadow of (and indeed now have to care for) their dementia-ridden former cop father (played by Brian Cox).

Eager to make an arrest and put the case to bed early doors, their investigation centres on a known child molester, who is back on the local streets and supposedly having found God.

But things take a number of twists and turn along the way, some violently, and before long the siblings are in the spotlight themselves.

On their tail is another member of the force (Mark Strong) who unsurprisingly is determined to get to the bottom of it all, leading to a cat-and-mouse affair that eventually builds to a crescendo.

Partly funded by the BBC, that small-screen feel is awash from first frame to last in Blood – apart from a handful of tracking shots this could very easily be Sunday-night fodder on the telly.

There are also issues with pacing – after a solid opening half the film really gets bogged down, leaving the viewer feeling he has witnessed something far longer than the actual 90 minutes or so running time.

Scenes also tend to slide into the melodramatic, diluting the impact they could have had if played straight.

But the cast is the key here, with Bettany, Graham, Cox and Strong all producing solid work – although whoever sanctioned Ade Edmonson in a totally straight role should rethink things as his appearance produced titters in the preview audience.

There are a couple of scenes that hint at what director Nick Murphy may be capable of – a sequence in a dimly-lit abandoned cinema being a real standout, but in the main it is by-the-numbers stuff.

Blood is certainly not a bad film, in fact it is quite a good one, but there is nothing to make it particularly memorable.

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.