Guillaume Canet’s new feature film, Blood Ties was one of the most hotly anticipated events of the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. This is the first American movie for the director, a remake of Jacques Maillot’s Les Liens du Sang, in which he appeared in 2008. Canet wrote the screenplay with none other than James Gray himself, who worked concurrently on The Immigrant, also featuring in Cannes this year.
The story takes place in 1974 New York. Frank (Billy Crudup), a brilliant cop, welcomes home from prison his elder brother Chris (Clive Owen), and tries to help him build a new life, sharing his flat, finding Chris a job, and helping him reconnect with his children and ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). They’re different in many ways, but they struggle together to adapt to this second chance. Sadly, Chris’s past catches up to him and the two brothers become enemies – a cop chasing a murderer.
Canet habitually directs long feature films, but this one didn’t need to last almost two and a half hours – and it’s too bad, because even if the screenplay is really nothing new, Canet’s approach brings an all-new level of intimacy to the thriller genre. The characters are deep and moving, especially Billy Crudup’s, the little brother struggling to love his elder, be loved by his family, and be a good cop. Crudup is at his best, complemented by Clive Owen who is so good at being the redemptive bad guy. The New York of the 1970s is faithfully recreated, and the atmosphere of the movie benefits hugely from the cinematography and production design.
Nevertheless, the time spent in front of the screen seems to last an eternity, a shorter version would have resulted in a really good cinematic moment.
Blood Ties is released nationwide on 15th August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Blood Ties here: