Blood Work


Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by:Brian Helgeland
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Wanda De Jesus, Tina Lifford, Anglica Huston
Released: November 14, 2002
Grade: B-

It’s the old “detective lured out of retirement” routine.  FBI profiler Terry McCaleb was shot while chasing a serial killer and was forced to retire.  Needing a heart transplant, Terry waited two years before hearing the good news that a donor was available.  The surgery went successfully but Dr. Bonnie Fox (Huston) stresses that he must go easy on the new heart and not do anything strenuous.

No sooner is he back home, a visitor arrives on the doorstep of his houseboat.  Gracie Rivers (De Jesus) wants Terry to return a favour and explains her reasons and motivations.  Her sister was recently shot dead in a convenience store robbery and fed up with the lack of answers the police are providing, she turns to McCaleb.  Oh yes, and she’s found out that the heart used in Terry’s transplant was that of her sister.  Feeling a sense of indebtedness, Terry agrees to help.

The investigation begins.  There’s an assortment of characters along the way (including a funny police detective) and they interact well.  The dialogue is classy as you’d expect from screenwriter Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential).  The other notable cast members if Jeff Daniels who plays a resident.  Aside from the opening and closing scenes, there’s not a lot of action.

Dumfounded I was by the holes in the plot.  They’re big.  Don’t ask me how they expect us to overlook this.  Once you’ve seen the flick you’ll understand it but there’s a scene where McCaleb visits an ATM machine.  He later realises the killer was right behind him at the machine.  Can I ask why that on knowing this information, McCaleb didn’t get a copy of the security tape from the teller to identify him?  Since he used the machine right after him, why didn’t he just get the bank’s records?  Beats me.

It sure is frustrating.  Whilst it’s not a direct criticism, I do share doubts over the fact that the aging Terry has a relationship with the 20-something Gracie in the finale.  I’m sure it’s possible but a few people in my cinema were equally as squeamish as I.  I my eyes - it was an unnecessary subplot used to waste time.

Sounds like an interesting book.  It was originally written by Michael Connelly.  As for the movie, average at best.  Many good qualities but the inconsistencies ruin the hard work put in.