Popkorn Junkie

Movie review for the film Blood Word starring Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, and Anjelica Huston
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Note: This film has an R rating.

Junkie Rating:

This film received 3 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 3 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 3 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 3 1/2 pops out of 4 pops.

Cast and Credits

Clint Eastwood (Director/Terry McCaleb) 
Jeff Daniels (Buddy Lockridge) 
Anjelica Huston (Dr. Bonnie Fox) 
Wanda De Jesus (Graciella Rivers)
Tina Lifford (Jaye Winston) 
Paul Rodriguez (Detective Ronaldo Arrango) 
Dylan Walsh (Detective John Waller) 

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      "Blood Work" is a tight suspense thriller which gives us a great performance by Eastwood who is on-screen for almost the entire film.  As is the case with most Eastwood movies, the story is more about the characters and their responses to events rather than having them take a back seat to over-the-top action sequences. With it's deliberate pace and letting the story unfold slowly, watching Blood Work was like having a front row seat to a real serial killer investigation.

      The film starts out letting us know about an event which happened two years earlier.  McCaleb, a FBI agent, is investigating another serial killing and upon leaving the murder scene, notices that standing among the crowd in the street is a person with bloody tennis shoes.  Upon chasing the apparent killer, McCaleb suffers a heart attack and the killer gets away.  Cut to present time and we find McCaleb now retired and having undergone a heart transplant months earlier.  Living life now on a boat in the marina, McCaleb is visited by the sister of a woman who had been murdered and who requests that he help find her killer.  Through circumstances that I won't reveal here, McCaleb agrees to help Graciella hunt down this killer.  While facing many obstacles, including recuperating from his heart transplant and LAPD officers who don't want him treading in their territory, McCaleb proceeds to get deeper and deeper into the hunt, finding out that he and the victims seem to be connected somehow.

      Two things stand out immediately after watching this film.  Eastwood gives us a terrific, heart-felt performance as an older ex-FBI agent who feels compelled to assist this stranger in finding out who killed her sister.  Eastwood's character uses his brain when trying to figure out the clues rather than resorting to using modern day gadgets and computers.  The other strength to the film is the deliberate way that Eastwood the director lets the story unfold slowly, so that we can see how pieces of the puzzle are put together as well as to let us get to know all the major characters well enough to understand their motives and personalities.

      I really like the nuances of this story and the film really makes me want to read the book by Michael Connelly.  It's a lot of fun to see how clues are discovered and the twists involved as we slowly understand the motivations behind these murders and how certain characters are connected to them.  It's like watching an old fashioned murder mystery or reading an Agatha Christie mystery novel.  Several critics have complained that the clues and who the murderer is are much too evident and way too easy to figure out.  But I didn't find this to be the case and the movie is not just about who the murderer is, but more about the steps required to find the killer.  I was engrossed with the story as more and more of the clues were unraveled.

      In addition to Eastwood, the acting is good around and especially by Wanda De Jesus who plays the sister of a murdered woman.  Eastwood and De Jesus show real chemistry on screen and her casting in this role was a smart move.  Jeff Daniels as McCaleb's somewhat loser sidekick provides many funny moments as he tries to play detective while transporting McCaleb around in his car.  Of course, no Eastwood film would be complete without many one-liners coming out of a snarling Eastwood, and this movie is no exception.

      For those who like a murder mystery which is slowly being solved piece by piece and with interesting characters will surely enjoy "Blood Work".  As clues are found and facts are realized, more of the story unfolds and more of the motives are understood.  But for those who like their movies edited in such a MTV way that scenes are cut every three seconds with blasting music and lots of action sequences will probably find the film slow going.  But for me, Eastwood proves once again that he still has that great screen presence and is capable of making all kinds of entertaining films.

Mike ( 3 1/2out of 4 pops )


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Other Junkie's opinions.....

       James ( 3 1/2 out of 4 pops )

      Despite the fact that I saw the whole who-did-what, who's-the-killer of the movie, I really enjoyed this. A while back I mentioned how I despise surprise endings. Well not despise, I just think they're used to much and that decreases their effect on the audience. I kinda liked that I had the killer pegged, and that the writer and director didn't try to pull a fast one or a rabbit out of their hat. The performances were pretty good, with exception of the Mexican cop-- although that scene in the beginning (you know which one) was great! But overall that actor was over the top. Clint's still the man, and Jeff Bridges is downright creepy.

      Billy Ray ( 4 out of 4 pops )

      I was thoroughly impressed with the latest picture from Clint Eastwood, "Blood Work".  It keeps you guessing until the very end and the tension and intrigue is paced at an appropriate level.  The action is never too intense and the plotline is just smart enough to keep us interested.  Clint Eastwood isn't seen as a badass cop in this one, or a super human crime fighter, rather an ex-agent with a big heart problem who could drop at any minute.  Jeff Daniels is great as Eastwood's neighbor Buddy, and Paul Rodriguez adds some comic relief as a feisty Mexican police officer.  This is the best Eastwood film since "Unforgiven", by far, and it is an exceptional crime thriller.

      Pappy ( 3 out of 4 pops )

      Kind of an old fashioned mystery/thriller, but a very good vehicle for an aging Clint Eastwood.  Nothing great about this film at all except for the fact that it was entertaining and well worth the price of admission.   Thank goodness hes finally learned that it is not appropriate to have a film relationship with a 20 year old beauty.