Blood Work
*** BM
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Daniels, Paul Rodriguez, Wanda De Jesus


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Sorry, Clint. This one didn't work for me at all.

There's not much that's more arduous and patience-thinning than watching people struggle for hours to put together a mystery that you've figured out in the first fifteen minutes of the film. It's along the same lines of watching a comedy that everybody but the filmmakers realizes is not funny in the least, but not quite as aggravating and contempt-inducing. It just feels a bit sad.

General sadness and 'patheticity,' as I like to say, is sort of a theme, though. Clint Eastwood is Terry McCaleb, a shitty old fed profiler who has a heart attack while chasing down a serial killer that's been harassing him personally with his crimes. After a heart transplant, the sister of the donor, Graciela (De Jesus), shows up on his boat and guilts McCaleb into tracking down the random convenience store hold-up guy that killed the donor. This is not advised by his doctor (Huston) or the detectives on the force who hated him, but it's encouraged by the loser in the boat across the dock (Daniels), who becomes his impromptu partner. So it's a fight against his own weak self to follow this investigation through to the end.

It's an interesting concept, but the execution is flawed. The mystery is easily solved for the audience (at least for me - I'd figured it out by the time he watched the police video of the shooting, and there's still at least an hour of meandering through the case left), so what's left should be an interesting character examination of a time-beaten cop striving against himself to solve one last crime. But it's just a lot of "eeh, I'm fine!" to shoo away any concerns, then he bones the sister and solves the crime. No surprises, no suspense, just a by the numbers mystery that wraps up neatly, although it feels like it had been re-edited or changed around a bit. Maybe I was just expecting more than was delivered.

Devoid of actual intrigue, it falls to the actors to deliver entertaining and involving performances, and it seems like Clint's the only one really up to the job, although Daniels does a decent job as well. In their strange situation, I could believe Graciela could feel some sort of attraction and odd metaphysical bond with McCaleb, but I'm afraid I didn't believe De Jesus felt that way at all. She seemed to have a stilted, iffy delievery that was trying to be solemn and brooding but rarely came across as more than 'here's my next line.' Paul Rodriguez, while normally amusing, is played for comic relief here as well, but it just feels forced each time he shows up.

I like Clint Eastwood in general, and I like his craggy-assed cantankerous persona, but this time, it just wasn't enough to make this one enjoyable, sad to say.

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