No family connection
by Robert Pagán
After blight destroys his family and their farm a decade before, Adam (Barry Ward) learns that his brother is having a baby. Despite being basically excommunicated from the family, Adam decided to take a journey to visit his brother. He stops and encounters family and friends along the way. Each stop produces something different for better or worse. The journey as a whole turns out to be lackluster in its unsatisfying moral story.
The pacing of the film is rather slow and doesn’t ever truly rise to any climax. Adam slowly travels through Britain stopping at various places along the way, and we meet new people that are or have been part of his life. These stops would be great if something actually happened, which this is not the case. Little to nothing happens with each person mostly wandering and sitting for long periods of time. Each stop becomes rather uneventful as a result. In addition nothing new about Adam is discovered.
From a moral standpoint, Adam seems to be on this journey to find out who he is and change his ways. The stops he makes with other family and friends don’t serve in this agenda. As a man exiled and down on his luck Adam doesn’t seem eager to change his situation. With each meeting with people in his life they try to help him. However, it becomes clear early on that Adam does not want any. We only get a small look into the relationships he has had with others but not how he has gotten to where he is. The film is very stagnant and disappointing is this way.
We learn the most about him through a series of flashbacks than the rest of the movie. That being said, the same scene is shown in each flashback. To spice the scene up the flashbacks are done in a unique way. The same flashback is shown multiple times revealing more of the scene each time. The scene progresses further in time with each flashback. This keeps things interesting, but ultimately the payoff is somewhat unsatisfying.
If there is one thing that the film does right it is the atmosphere. The combination of music and ambient noise cater to the creation of a particular atmosphere. The music has very limited use in the film. It involves more droning and tonal aspects never having any lyrics. If the music steps outside those aspects it is still only orchestral. What adds another layer to the music is the use of diegetic sounds. The vast majority of the score includes sounds from the environment. Whether it is the sounds of cars on the road, birds chirping, or waves crashing against the shore, they can be heard over the music. The background noise also feels amplified in many scenes to create the atmosphere of the film.
Although having a great sense of atmosphere through the music and background noise, and the distinct use of flashbacks Blood Cells doesn’t quite live up to some expectations. The pacing and story structure of the film is off. The film seems to plateau early on and never rises to a satisfying climax. Adam as a character never sees anything real growth in his development. He is unchanged in his ways that creates a sluggish and uninteresting story.