starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Daniels
by Stephen Notley
ZzzzzzClint EastwoodzzzheartattackzzzzJeff Danielszzzzserial killerzzz uh wuh? what? I'm awake, I'm awake! What were we talking about? Oh yeah, Bloodwork, right.
Bloodwork, as a movie, barely exists. Sure, it would like to be a grizzled cop story with a twist, but it's just too lame, too empty of life or point. Here's the premise: Clint Eastwood is an aging FBI guy chasing a serial killer. He has a heart attack. Two years later he's got a new heart and he's retired. A woman asks him to solve her sister's murder; P.S., the sister's heart is the one thumpity-thumpin' away behind Clint's geezery old ribs.
Thus begins a wheezy, dull little story that follows Clint around as he has annoying conversations with his complainy doctor, jerky cops, and Jeff Daniels. Along the way he spots clues other cops miss, follows the trail, and eventually brings the whole thing back to the original serial killer in a Jeff Daniels-related twist so banal and unsurprising that its unsurprisingness was almost a surprise.
There *are* real surprises in the film, but it's in watching the end credits and discovering that Clint Eastwood directed and produced the movie. It's easy to picture Clint reading the original book and thinking the main character, McCaleb, would be the kind of conflicted guy he'd like to play. But somewhere along the line it looks like Clint forgot to make the movie not about a old guy wandering around picking up bland clues.
If you're going to see a cop thriller movie in the theatre, you've got a right to expect some cop thrills, or at least something you could put up against an episode of Law & Order without collapsing. Hell, even poo like the Bone Collector has a memorable scene or two. But Bloodwork is all tired cliches and half-baked serial killers and generic shots of Clint standing in rooms or on his boat. None of it sticks in your mind, even while you're watching it. It's the kind of movie you wake up in the middle of.
Bloodwork also leans heavily on a style of screenwriting in which characters get together and argue, not because they actually have anything to argue about, but because the scene is supposed to be "arguey". By far the worst-served by this is Angelica Houston as Clint's doctor. I think we can all agree that Angelica Huston knows how to act, but here she's so stiff and unreal, having to get worked up about her pointless doctor scenes, it's like watching somebody's clumsy mom on stage.
But, frankly, nobody looks good here. Clint calls forth an echo of Dirty Harry when we first see him, but don't worry, that's going to disappear quick, and the pace is gonna sloooooow right down once he heart attacks. None of the other actors register. Hell, even the cinematography was so boring I noticed how boring it was.
Nope, this isn't a movie anybody'd want to see in the theatre. Nor would
you really want to waste a rental on it. Maybe if it was on TV, and you
were bored... nah, there'd be something better on another channel. It's