Saturday, June 13, 2009

Film Review: BLOOD WORK (2002, Clint Eastwood)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 110 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Clint Eastwood, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels, Wanda de Jesus, Paul Rodriguez (D.C. CAB), Dylan Walsh (NIP/TUCK).
Tag-lines: "He's a heartbeat away from catching the killer."
Best one-liner: "
Hey McCaleb! We don't need your doughnuts... or your shit! We've got enough of our own!"

Mexican-American Cop: "Just because you got a Mexican's heart doesn't mean you're one of us!" Clint: "Hey Arango, next time you step foot on this dock, this Mexican will kick your ass!"
Right off the bat, I'll tell you this: this isn't Clint Eastwood's best. But who cares? He can't make WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART or UNFORGIVEN every time around. Half the time he's just out to entertain us.
Those who worship or tear down the likes of CHANGELING or LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA in hushed tones forget that this is the same guy who directed FIREFOX and THE EIGER SANCTION. ...So it's corny to use sultry Spanish guitar during Clint's love scene with a Hispanic woman. So what?! Are you gonna tell that to Clint? I'm sure as hell not gonna tell him. 

Regardless, what we've got here is a rather entertaining whodunit with a still grizzled, but increasingly kinder and gentler Clint; a doctorly Angelica Huston; and a CAPTAIN RON-channeling Jeff Daniels.
 The screenplay by Brian Helgeland (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4, THE POSTMAN, MYSTIC RIVER) is frequently laughable, Clint still doesn't quite know how to direct kids, and there is all manner of corny things going on (including a kid doing some code-breaking), but goddammit, Clint has class. And it ends up as sort of a 'Zen' action movie. Sure, it has a couple of one-liners and some unnecessary gunplay, but at its core is a placid sure-handedness of direction and performance that is pure Clint, taking pleasure in the nuances of a quiet harbor or a country drive. So, despite some minor flaws, BLOOD WORK is immensely watchable and a quite sturdy example of latter-day Clint. Four stars.

-Sean Gill

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