"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
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.
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.