directed by Clint Eastwood, Blood Work is Eastwood’s take on Michael
Connelly’s best selling novel of the same name. Working from an
intelligent script by Brian Helgeland, it’s a faithful rendition.
Eastwood plays boat-dwelling Terry McCaleb, a former FBI agent who
had to quit the Agency because of heart problems, encountered chasing a bad
guy at the beginning of the film that required a heart transplant.
A woman, Graciela Rivers (Wanda de Jesus) manipulates him into
investigating the murder of her sister at a convenience store.
Against his better judgment, he reluctantly consents to look into it
against the warnings of his cardiologist, Dr. Bonnie Fox, played by Anjelica
He’s helped by
Buddy Noone (Jeff Daniels), his ne’er do well neighbor in the marina.
Together, with FBI Agent Jaye Winston (Tina Lifford), with whom he had a
prior relationship, they start to investigate, irritating an LAPD Detective,
Arrango (Paul Rodriguez), who feels McCaleb is a has-been irritant in a case
he considers dead. They
persist, however, and as the story progresses McCaleb finds there’s a lot
more involved than he bargained for.
All the players do
good, believable jobs of translating Connelly’s spellbinding novel to the
screen, but the star of this film is Tom Stern, the Director of Photography.
The cinematography of this movie is exceptional.
Filmed in and around a marina, there is a five-minute sequence filmed
across from the Queen Mary at dusk in available light that is worth the
price of admission. The wind is
blowing and Stern catches that rare light that occasionally comes to an
ocean locale at twilight. This
sequence is mesmerizing.
his age with grace in this film. Instead
of a macho Dirty Harry, he’s now a vulnerable, sick, aging ex-cop who must
always consider the effects of what he’s doing, or about to do, on his
borrowed heart. It’s a wonderful transition.
He can’t use his power as a policeman because he no longer carries
a badge, so he fudges when identifying himself.
But even though he’s aging, illegitimate, and ill, below
McCaleb’s susceptible exterior we can still see Dirty Harry lurking in the
Although this film
is long, running approximately 115 minutes, it is involving and the acting
is uniformly excellent. If you
like genre films, Blood Work will not disappoint.