There will be blood.

by Gordon Shelly

This is a good movie. A very good movie.

However, it will probably be overlooked. In fact, it already has been. Blood was completed in 2012 and has been waiting for release for more than a year.

Why the delay? Because it is a different kind of crime drama. One that 21st century audiences are not accustomed to. It’s dark. It’s cerebral. The line between good and bad is very grey, much like the cinematography of Blood — very grey. And it’s not the kind of movie where the good guys necessarily win.

It is somewhat reminiscent of William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) and the Bruce Malmuth directed Nighthawks (1981) with Sylvester Stallone. Each involve a pair of cops willing to push the limits of right and wrong to catch a criminal. They are slow paced, rising to their mildly explosive climaxes. In today’s feed me now and feed me immediately generation, that will never do. Therefore, Blood will be overlooked, but it shouldn’t be.

In Blood, the Fairburn family has been in law enforcement for two generations. First, it was Lenny Fairburn (Brian Cox), the family patriarch and legendary police officer. Then his sons, Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie (Stephen Graham).

Nick Murphy
Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Mark Strong, Brian Cox
Release Date
Influx Grade: B+

 Following a horrific crime, Joe and Chrissie investigate with relentless and ethical abandon. In fact, the two become so intent on solving the crime, that they commit a horrific crime and become the very criminals whom they must, themselves, investigate.

The father, Lenny (Cox), tries to stay current with the events of the police force and his two sons, but he is sick and suffering from the mid stages of what appears to be Alzheimer’s disease.

Chrisse, played by Stephen Graham who first emerged in Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, is the moral conscious of of this police story, continually struggling with the choices he and Joe (Bettany) make as fellow police officer Robert Seymour (Mark Strong) closes in on the truth.

All the performances are very strong, but it is Bettany who carries Blood. As the characters become more conflicted, Bettany shines at his craft, showing the many layers of conflict exhibited by the Fairburns.

Paul Bettany has had his moments in the spotlight. He is the voice of Jarvis in the Iron Man movies and The Avengers. He had pivotal roles in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, A Beautiful Mind, A Knight’s Tale and The Da Vinci Code. He had leading roles in Wimbledon, Priest and Legion. He has shown glimpses of greatness, and in Blood, he has a role that says that it is time for Paul Bettany to stand up and be recognized. Maybe not in this movie necessarily, but soon. Blood proves that Bettany has the stuff of greatness. Perhaps, next, we will see what he decides to do with it.

Grade: B+