Review: “Blood Work”

After pretty much cornering the market in recent years with engaging slow-burning suspense dramas like “True Crime” and “Absolute Power”, Eastwood’s quickly growing credo suffers a set back with this sadly disappointing by-the-numbers killer thriller.

Eastwood himself gives us one of his better performances in a while on screen as the whole age/health angle is thoroughly believable, but behind the camera it looks like his usually quite steady directing hand is slipping thanks in part to a bad script and uninteresting mystery. In many ways it reminded me of a darker and poorer version of “True Crime” – but without that thing which is really required to make a thriller work – suspense.

Connelly’s novel itself was a solid piece of source material, which is why its a surprise to learn that Brian Helgeland adapted it into a movie filled with the most tired and overused of Hollywood cliches. There’s the Latino cop comic relief character who serves as a foil, the beautiful ex-love high powered cop who helps where she can, the comical slacker neighbour buddy and of course video camera surveillance footage which hides most of the key points to the crime. In fact most of the audience will have easily figured out whose responsible long before Clint does which makes this all the more frustrating.

Most of those cliched roles could work but the supporting cast seems to be falling asleep whether its the great Anjelica Houston in an unforgivingly bland role as Eastwood’s doctor, to De Jesus as the victim’s sister whose chemistry with Eastwood just isn’t there no matter how much they try to ignite it. Only Lifford (who look and sounds so much like Alfre Woodard at times is scary) as Eastwood’s ex-love comes off with any credo even though she’s only there to push the plot along an already well-trodden route.

Pacing is mind-numbingly slow which in itself is not a bad thing, but considering the simple lack of energy up on screen it makes the quiet moments simply flat rather than haunting or compelling as they should be. One has to admire Eastwood for continuing to do films which actually have a good sense of filmmaking and unfold at a steady pace rather than another effort from the flashy gross-out factory this genre has become, yet the material done the right way could’ve yielded so much more thank this rather lifeless effort.