Wanda De Jesus
Blood Work, Clint Eastwood's latest film in which he both directs
and stars in, is not one of his finest hours as a filmmaker. Based on the
best-selling novel, Blood Work offers little in the ways of suspense,
surprises or entertainment value.
A veteran FBI profiler, Terry McCaleb (Clint Eastwood) is unrelenting in
his pursuit of justice and unequalled in his success at tracking and
catching murderers. But as he closes in on his latest adversary - a
psychopath dubbed "The Code Killer" by the media - McCaleb is felled by a
massive heart attack and forced into early retirement.
Two years later, a woman (Wanda De Jesus) reveals a secret that compels
McCaleb to re-examine his recovery: his life was saved by someone else's
death - the victim of a murder that remains unsolved. Against the advice of
his cardiologist (Anjelica Huston) and with the help of his neighbor (Jeff
Daniels), McCaleb literally puts his life on the line to track down a
murderer who has forced him to take this case personally.
Just as McCaleb suffers from an ailing heart, the movie also has a bum
ticker in the form of Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential)'s
screenplay. It is filled with stale dialogue, a lack of logic, thin
characters, unsurprising twists and turns and bits of humor that borders on
being racist. Eastwood's directing, usually quite solid, goes right in line
with the blandness of the script. There's little energy to it, no buildup of
dramatic tension and the payoff is far from satisfying. Clint the director
is on autopilot here, trying to get it done with as quickly as possible.
The acting fares a little bit better, but not by much. Eastwood's
performance as McCaleb is okay but nothing special. Huston walks around
angry most of the time (likely due to the dialogue she's given to work
with), DeJesus is decent but hardly memorable and Paul Rodriguez, the poor
man's Erik Estrada, is grating from start to finish as a cop at odds with
McCaleb. Only Jeff Daniels' performance shows any real signs of life. Too
bad he couldn't infuse the rest of the film with his energy.
I've always been a big fan of Eastwood's work, both in front and behind
the camera. The past decade has seen Clint branch off into new and exciting,
more mature directions with such diverse films as Unforgiven, The
Bridges Of Madison County and White Hunter, Black Heart. Blood
Work had the potential to be a film that could have combined that new
level maturity with the gritty police thrillers that populated his career in
the 1970s and 80s in such great films like Dirty Harry and