Monday, September 5, 2016

Blood Father - Movie Review: Can Gibson Still Draw an Audience?

Did Gibson try to make some sort of apology for his actions with his character in the opening monolog?

Blood Father starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, and directed by Jean-Francois Richet. The story is about an estranged father, played by Gibson, who tries to protect his daughter from the Mexican drug cartel. It is a fairly simply story, but executed very well. I understand not wanting to see a new Mel Gibson movie because of what he has said and done, but for me I’m okay with watching a new film. I still can watch and not agree with what he has done. Maybe some will think letting him come back from Hollywood obscurity as acceptance of his action, but I don’t. He does good work, and Blood Father is another example of how talented the man is.

Gibson makes this movie. He holds the film together with his strong performance. The story is standard and so is most are most of the other performances. Gibson portrayal as the former biker John Link is nuanced and believable. Gibson makes you believe he is a down on his luck recovering alcoholic who wants nothing more than to find his daughter. Gibson has always had expressive eyes, and he conveys the loss he feels for not knowing his daughter simply by his expressions. It also doesn’t hurt that Gibson can play a character just on the edge of sanity, with only a slight push sending him over the edge. There isn’t much on the surface of the character, and there probably wasn’t much in the script, but Gibson adds layers with his performance.

Erin Moriarty does a good job playing the distressed daughter. I’m not sure I liked her portrayal as someone coming down off a high. I can’t honestly say if her portrayal is accurate. I’ve never been around people coming off of Meth or people on Meth, so she could have done a good job. She was manic, and I’m guessing that might be partially accurate. I’m also not sure about the development of her character. At certain points of the film they hint at her being very intelligent, but then follow this up with her making stupid decisions. Her story arc is predictable, but I’m not sure it is fully earned with the script. I needed more development of her being an intelligent person with some more backstory. I also wouldn’t have minded some more story with her and the boyfriend played by Diego Luna.

Blood Father knows what type of movie it is though, and it sticks to its story and takes you on a fun ride. The movie isn’t action packed, but builds tension well and does develop a good relationship between Link and his daughter.  When the action does happen it pays off well. The pacing of the movie is really well done and I never felt bored while watching. At one point I had to pause my rental and I didn’t want to. The movie holds your attention and you want to know what happens next. Blood Father while still billed as an action movie, really doesn’t have over the top sequences, but the scenes it does have are fun and well done. This small contained story does exactly what it’s supposed to, keep you entertained and invested in the main characters.

The only minor story or character complaint I have is the sequence at the biker ranch. I don’t think the sequence fit into the overall flow of the movie, and it seemed to be just another sequence to let Gibson go a little crazy. Michael Perks character, The Preacher, just doesn’t fit into the movie. The scenes at this point in the movie just didn’t make much sense in the overall storyline. Maybe there are scenes missing with Perks and Gibson which would have made this sequence fit. The scenes weren’t bad, but it just didn’t mesh well with the other parts of the story. I don’t think the events which happen at the ranch were needed for the main story.

Blood Father is simply a well-made enjoyable action film If you are okay with watching Mel Gibson in a movie again, then I would suggest checking it out. It does try to hit on remorse and loss, but not enough to really be noticeable. The film overall just looks good. Richet did a great job of capturing the film and creating a great tone from the surroundings and action he captured. This one is worth seeing and it might actually be worth buying when it is available. At the moment you can only rent it digitally, but I can see it growing legs if it gets picked up by a streaming service. It’s worth checking out if none of the current releases in the theaters look entertaining.

If you have seen Blood Father let me know what you thought. Do you think this is the start of a Gibson come back? Comment and let me know. If you haven’t seen it, let me know what your favorite Gibson film is. 

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