Blood Work
2 out of 5 stars
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It's intriguing how Eastwood makes films that are just like him: stately, straightforward, gently loping. Those are words easily describe this efficient but fairly unexciting thriller, based on Michael Connelly's bestselling novel. McCaleb (Eastwood) is a former FBI profiler lured out of retirement to solve the murder of the young woman who donated her heart for his transplant operation. Unsurprisingly, it's linked to the case he was working on when he had his near-fatal heart attack to begin with (in the film's prologue). Now he has to work with his layabout neighbour (Daniels), the victim's sister (De Jesus), a helpful former colleague (Lifford) and two bitter L.A. cops (Rodriguez and Walsh) to solve the mystery ... all while his cardiologist (Huston) moans that he needs to slow down and get some rest.

The story is tricky and convoluted, in a tidy movie-thriller sort of way in which you know exactly what's going to happen at every stage, from the dubious love interest to the contrived woman/child-in-jeopardy to the improbable unveiling of the serial killer. The actors gamely go along with even the silliest story elements, making us believe they believe it at least. But even that isn't quite enough to make this run-of-the-mill investigative mystery terribly involving. The only entertainment on offer is Eastwood himself, always watchable, and the mild enjoyment of unravelling the plot threads about five steps ahead of the characters. The blood/heart metaphors are laid on extremely thickly, as are some of the story's more ridiculous developments and a generally dry, witty tone that keeps us from really taking it seriously (as if we could). And the big finale almost reaches spoof levels of silliness. You could do worse. Much worse.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 11.Dec.02

dir Clint Eastwood
scr Brian Helgeland
with Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Wanda De Jesus, Anjelica Huston, Tina Lifford, Paul Rodriguez, Dylan Walsh, Mason Lucero, Igor Jijikine, Gerry Becker, Rick Hoffman, Alix Koromzay
release US 9.Aug.02; UK 27.Dec.02
02/US 1h40

Check-up. McCaleb gets told off by his cardiologist (Eastwood and Huston)...

eastwood daniels huston
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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall