Frenchman Guillaume Canet belongs to the circle of actors who later turned to screenwriting and film directing, although he still acts quite regularly. As an extremely talented author, Canet introduced himself in 2006 with the acclaimed thriller “Tell No One”, and seven years later he joined forces with American filmmaker James Gray to film this high-budget crime film ($ 25 million) in an American production. Thematically, this story seems to have really fallen out of Gray’s universe because this American dealt with the relationship between the brothers in his first films (Little Odessa, We Own the Night). Still, “Blood Ties” is actually a remake of Jacques Maillot’s 2008 French action crime thriller “The Rivals,” and Canet and Gray moved the plot to Brooklyn in 1974.
Gathered in this crime is a truly respectable European-American cast led by Clive Owen and Billy Crudup as two brothers who will find themselves on different sides of the law. Owen is the older brother of Chris who has just been released from prison where he served 12 years for murder, and his ex-wife Monica (Marion Cotillard) with whom he has two children is a prostitute and drug addict. After his release from prison, Chris will find a new girlfriend, Natalie (Mila Kunis), and after the ideas that he could run a legitimate business fail, he will turn back to what he is best at – crime.
Crudup, on the other hand, is Frank’s younger brother, a New York police officer who will put petty criminal Anthony (Matthias Schoenaerts) in jail to regain the opportunity to be with his unrequited love Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), now married to the violent Anthony. There’s also Frank and Chris ’old and sick father Leon (Scott Caan), but the focus of this film is still the relationship of the brothers as the brother cop will figure out what the latter is doing again. The conflict between a sense of duty and justice that he should react to that love and loyalty to his brother, whatever he may be, carries this whole powerful and compelling crime drama that is stylistically very reminiscent of Gray’s films. The strongest assets of this crime, however, are the convincing acting performances and the handful of surprises that this story brings. Rating 8/10.
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