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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Film review: Blood
Film review: Blood Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 31 May 2013 07:03
Blood - Paul Bettany
Director: Nick Murphy
Cast: Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Brian Cox, Mark Strong
Certificate: 15

“Sometimes we can mistake anger for caring.” That’s sensible policeman Robert (Strong) to worked-up copper Joe (Bettany). And who can blame Joe for being tetchy? He’s got a lot to be worked up about. His father (Cox) was a ball-busting police chief and now has Alzheimer’s. His younger brother, Chrissie (Graham), keeps cheating on his partner. And they’ve got a killer to find after a 12 year old girl is brutally murdered.

If Blood (also out on video on-demand) sounds like a TV drama, that’s because it is – the script is based on 2004 series Conviction – but Paul Bettany easily fills up the screen’s extra inches. Stomping around in a long trenchcoat like Columbo’s crazy cousin, he’s a wonderfully volatile presence; you never know when he’s going to start shouting at someone, get drunk or simply smack a guy with a spade.

It’s a shame, theme, that the rest of Blood is so ploddingly predictable. From confessions and quiet scenes of shock to smiling villains and family drama, it’s a familiar reunion for all those old British crime tropes. Fortunately, it’s a reunion with top-drawer refreshments; Murphy, who proved himself a dab directorial hand with The Awakening, creates a grim vibe with subtle flashes of style, lingering on cigarette ends lighting up in the dark amid the bleak (unnamed) locations. A moving Graham and stoic Strong, meanwhile, provide solid support, and Brian Cox’s ageing constable gives events a sharp pang of sadness.


But make no mistake: the show belongs to Bettany. His gradually imploding man is one of the most intense roles of his career, a small-scale chance to tackle the big issues. By sticking with his perspective, Murphy’s low-key thriller makes for a gripping examination of police procedurals rather than a mere ITV clone. You may guess what’s going to happen, but how Bettany will react is never certain.

Oh yes, he’s one angry dude all right. And that’s what makes us care so much.


Blood is out in UK cinemas now – and, if you’re nowhere near a cinema showing it, it’s available to rent on Blinkbox too. For more on VOD services, including a Netflix random button, visit VODzilla.co.



Blood film trailer