Strong Performances and a Story of Guilt Draw "Blood" Review

The sheer volume of films being made both in and out of Hollywood means that a small film filled with strong actors can pass completely under the radar amidst the rumble of huge blockbusters and prestige films that tend to attract all the attention. Consequently, small thrillers like Nick Murphy’s Blood pass by virtually unseen even though they have reliable talents like Mark Strong, Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, and Brian Cox driving the taut, well-written drama. There are no chase scenes or explosions, just a quiet contemplative tale of guilt, justice, and family ties. Blood is a strong character piece you’ve almost assuredly overlooked.

As the investigation into the murder of a young woman comes to a close and the primary suspect (Ben Crompton) walks free due to lack of evidence, detectives Joe (Bettany) and Chrissie Fairburn (Graham) feel the pressure from their retired police chief father (Cox) to exact the kind of brutal, outside-the-law justice he used to practice when they botched a case back in the day. Taking that idea to heart, they drive the suspect out to a beach during low tide and, in an effort to extract a confession, accidentally kill him. The two brothers panic and vow to never tell anyone about the crime, but as new evidence about the girl’s murder surfaces and clears the man they killed of wrongdoing, the guilt of having killed an innocent man starts to eat away at their consciences as their colleague (Strong) starts to catch on to their criminal act.

Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham carry the majority of the film’s dramatic weight on their shoulders, and they do it brilliantly, giving convincing portrayals of men crumbling from the guilt eating away at their souls. Strong plays his usual stoic self, and once again it works for him even as it feels like he’s rehashing a role he’s played too many times to count. And since there’s little room for levity or dry wit here, which usually elevates his performance; it feels like just another Mark Strong movie.

Blood hits all the right dark and brooding notes, and it makes for a harrowing morality tale that buoyed by some great actors. You might not have heard of it before, but at the very least Blood deserves the cost of a rental.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

There are none.

"Blood" is on sale September 10, 2013 and is not rated. Crime, Drama. Directed by Nick Murphy. Written by Bill Galagher. Starring Brian Cox, Mark Strong, Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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