Blood Ties

2014

Blood Ties

Critics Consensus

Blood Ties boasts a fine cast and palpable period detail, but ultimately fails to do much of anything new with its formulaic story.

52%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 56

39%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,115
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Movie Info

New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Reluctantly waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favor Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance -- he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris' inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it's already too late, as the brothers' destiny is bound together, forever. (c) Roadside Attractions

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Critic Reviews for Blood Ties

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (27)

  • A cunningly chosen soundtrack featuring the likes of Ace Frehley, Al Wilson and the Isley Brothers attempts to paper over the cracks withcool, but it's not convincing.

    Aug 14, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Not quite an unimaginative crime film, not quite something better.

    Aug 14, 2014 | Rating: 3/5
  • If you hear an unearthly sound during Blood Ties, it might be Sidney Lumet's ghost attempting to contact his lawyer.

    Aug 13, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Seems to be the continuation of a narrative that only exists in its characters' heads.

    Mar 27, 2014 | Full Review…
  • I share Canet's affection for Sidney Lumet films full of scraggly sideburns and big brown Fleetwoods the size of the QE2. But if you really appreciated those movies, you'd use your memories of them to jumpstart something new.

    Mar 21, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • If you're an ardent admirer of pretty much anyone in the cast (OK, except Emmerich), you'll find something worthwhile here.

    Mar 21, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Blood Ties

  • Feb 19, 2016
    It is a world of men, and so all female characters are one-dimensional and revolve around them, while Billy Crudup delivers the only nuanced performance in a weak movie filled with too many characters who are mostly underdeveloped and make it lose focus like a soap opera.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 30, 2015
    Shot in a 1970s style, Blood Ties certainly has the right look. The film features a great cast, that made me desperately want to see it, but the problem is that it's a very common tale and it moves along at a snails pace. Even with a story that's been done over and over again, Blood Ties still could have been something special, because of it's cast, but that didn't happen simply because it is one of the most predictable films I've seen all year. The film features two brothers, Chris (Clive Owen) a career criminal, just released from prison, and Frank (Billy Crudup) a New York City Detective, who tries to help Chris get back on his feet. Didn't I see this movie in 2007 when it was called We Own The Night? That film has the exact same tagline, but fortunately wasn't as predictable. Billy Crudup stars as the good brother and was the only interesting character in the film, surprising considering the film features two of my favorite actors, James Caan and Charlie Tahan. Unfortunately neither of them have a particular big or interesting role, as everything centers around these two brothers. The con is played by Clive Owen, who honestly seemed like he didn't want anything to do with this role. He is emotionless, uneven, and every time he has any kind of long dialogue, I thought I was going to fall asleep. The bottom line, one's a cop, the others a con, I wonder what's going to happen? What happens is exactly what you think is going to happen, so why even bother to watching this extreme disappointment?
    Todd S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 30, 2014
    Crime runs in the family. Good Movie! Excellent story and good screenplay to go with it. However, need to be patient to follow the story line effectively through. Not a simple straightforward story which we usually see in movies. Good family crime drama. It is a thriller reaching the climax at the end. Like the ending too. The starting and the ending of the story blend together very well. In fact all the actors and actresses portrayed their parts very well indeed. The story is adapted from a French novel and movie. If you like simple straightforward action movie, then this is definitely not your type. New York, 1974. Fifty-year-old Chris (Clive Owen) has just been released on good behavior after several years in prison following a gangland murder. Reluctantly waiting for him outside the gates is his younger brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a cop with a bright future. Chris and Frank have always been different, and their father, Leon (James Caan), who raised them alone, seems to favor Chris despite all his troubles. Yet blood ties are the ones that bind, and Frank, hoping that his brother has changed, is willing to give him a chance - he shares his home, finds him a job, and helps him reconnect with his children and his ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard). But Chris' inevitable descent back into a life of crime proves to be the last in a long line of betrayals, and after his brother's latest transgressions, Frank banishes him from his life. But it's already too late, as the brothers' destiny is bound together, forever.
    Manu G Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2014
    Family violence, brother against brother, crime, redemption, futility, and escape--Blood Ties is a film that treads familiar ground, yet with another sensibility to it. A remake of a French film, and directed by the French Guillaume Canet, Family Ties evokes 70s America and cinema, while also channeling foreign influences of narrative, with an encompassing, wide-angle story. It's a sort of Heat meets We Own the Night, meets the numerous other cop/brother movies, yet with its own unique perspective. To say that Blood Ties has some clichés is an understatement. It hits on a number of familiar beats, the evasive father, the troubled brother, the disillusioned "right-path" son, and ubiquitous temptation. Yet Blood Ties never revels in these, and doesn't rely on them to tell the story. The brothers, for example, are not simply mirror images of each other with different paths, but are juxtaposed to create a rather interesting view of masculinity. We see the tough, confident, and yet seemingly callous Chris (Clive Owen), with the sensitive, affable, and yet strong willed Frank (Billy Crudup). It's here that the film gets interesting, as it never forces a grand change of personality for either character, yet explores their dynamics in a very real, authentic way. Frank, for example, can never be described as weak or cowardly, his reluctance toward violence comes from strength, from determination, and from perseverance. So, too, does Chris's hard exterior, which is simply an outgrowth of his upbringing, but one that, channeled the right way, can show a deep amount of love and compassion. Clive Owen's performance is certainly the most standout, but there's also some good supporting work, especially from the female cast. Here, too, the film departs from form. Instead of showing vulnerability and neediness, the women characters in Blood Ties are, though certainly flawed, strong willed and motivated of their own volition. In this way, the film gives strong characterizations to its entire cast, which helps in its rather expansive view. This view sets out to take on the entire family, showing the stark dichotomy of the family on the surface, yet the resounding similarities beneath the surface. This ambition, however, does get the film in to trouble. There's almost too much to tackle. The film tries to utilize childhood flashbacks, which are clunky, and never quite earns all of the notes that it tries to hit. The father issues, for example, are never explored, nor why Chris would take the path he did. There's an animosity beneath the surface that is never fully unearthed. This ambition also results in a number of tonal shifts, with the film trying to balance too much. The most stark problem I had with the film was the last act, in which the film gave in to melodrama than the more mature sensibilities it showed previously. An overall often impressive, yet flawed piece. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer

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