Blood and Money
Blood and Money is loud and sensual against the quiet backdrop of a vast, white, snow-filled forest. Every unsteady step, gust of wind and crunch of clothing breaks through the aimless, sharp monotony of the score. These background details reflect the struggles of the main character, Jim Reed (Tom Berenger), mirroring his lack of purpose and lost appreciation for life. The first half of the film is a slow but welcome build-up that secures a constant tone of mundanity. However, when that balance is abruptly disrupted, the action and plot take hold of the film and nuance becomes scarce.
The script is mediocre in servicing the performances of the actors. Sometimes there’s natural dialogue which makes the anxiety of certain characters even more prominent; other times it’s too expository, which makes the cast feel robotic and distant. The latter often leads to scenes of revelation – a kind of transition that works as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it allows the scenes to flow seamlessly between each other using context clues; on the other, it feels somewhat forced in terms of interaction and characterisation.
Despite this, Berenger is excellent in his role, exuding the jittery and awkward energy of his character. The way he moves is laboured and tired, his voice gruff and weary. He aptly captures Jim’s descent into the trance of running away and taking down the robbers. Viewers witness the deterioration of his moral compass as his nervous tick becomes replaced with an overconfident ruthlessness causing him to lose grip on what he’s doing. This transformation runs parallel with the film as it spirals into a messy and underwhelming climax, followed by an even more disappointing conclusion.
Blood and Money overall is thrilling and haunting in the right places. But, stripped of all the excitement, it is still a simplistic hit-and-run narrative with none of the deeper, underpinning storytelling that is needed to make the action work. The latter half of the movie is slow with anticipation and leaves a lot of careless and unresolved plot beats. The series of coincidences that tangle themselves together as the story progresses and the climax culminates is clever in parts, sometimes cliché and obvious in others. There is something cathartic in Jim’s final face-off with the last robber, highlighting an inkling of potential nuance, but it is ultimately overshadowed by the rest of the film’s shortcomings.
Blood and Money is released digitally on demand on 16th October 2020.
Watch the trailer for Blood and Money here: