In a park outside a small English town the body of a dead girl is found. While the police are investigating her cell phone rings. Picking it up, they hear only gibberish. There are few clues to the killing. There is no meaning in the evidence, not even a hint to a tattoo the girl has on her body: 4EVER. This is a mystery that will take it’s time being solved and unexpectedly lead to an even bigger one.
An intelligently written first feature by Bill Gallagher (who honed his craft on several popular British television series) and well acted, BLOOD is a small film made with the help of the British Lottery, which donates some of its proceeds to the arts. The cast is first rate, led by Bettany and Graham as brothers (and fellow detectives) Joe and Chrissie Fairburn. Joe is the serious one, and he takes this new case to heart. It seems in the past a similar event took place and Joe’s mishandling of evidence allowed the suspected killer to go free. Chrissie is more laid back. He does his job but he does it with a little fun. They are teamed up with Robert Seymour (Strong) a solitary man working in a team profession. Divorced, Robert seems to only have his job to keep him company. The police station is occasionally visited by Joe and Chrissie’s father, Lenny (a terrific Brian Cox), the former chief of police. Lenny’s mind is failing him and he often questions the identities of people he knows. He also likes to talk about the old days, before criminals had rights. Back then Lenny used to take a suspect out to a deserted island and beat them into a confession. When a suspect is identified in this most recent murder, he is released on lack of evidence. But Joe feels in his gut he is guilty and, after a night of drinking, he and Chrissie snatch him up and take him for a little ride. To the island.
A well made thriller, BLOOD is a definite must see for anyone that likes police mysteries. This is Bettany’s best performance, in my opinion. As a father with a daughter the same age as the victim he is over-vigilant in his protection of her. A smart-alecky comment by his daughter’s boyfriend regarding sex gets the young man slapped around. Graham is equally good here. As the film progresses and the incident at the island plays out he goes from humor to fear to despair seamlessly. He’s not as sure of the suspects guilt so he’s not as hardhearted as Joe. Strong is, well, strong. He has a quiet strength in his character and will stop at nothing, or no one, to find the truth. Director Murphy, who co-wrote and directed the very atmospheric THE AWAKENING, gives the film a good pace, keeping the viewer guessing at the film’s end until the last minute. Kudos also to cinematographer George Richmond and composer Daniel Pemberton, whose work helps set the tone of the film throughout.
Video: The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp, even during nighttime and interior scenes.
Audio: Presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 The sound is clear though when nature is involved with the scene (rain, waves on the beach) it’s sometimes hard to pick up a line or two. Nothing that interferes with following the story but still a little aggravating.
With the exception of three trailers at the beginning of the film there are no extras.