A review of “Blood Work” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: R for violence and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

 

 

It’s nice to see Clint Eastwood up on the big screen again, especially when he’s flaunting his Harry Callahan side.  No stranger to the biz side of showbiz, Eastwood directs, produces, and stars in this private investigator thriller that’s more conventional than thrilling.

Someone’s got Terry McCaleb’s (Eastwood) number.  As a veteran FBI profiler, McCaleb is an accomplished case-cracker, emphasis on murder.  Just as McCaleb is closing in on the elusive “Code Killer”, he drops from a massive heart attack and is forced into premature retirement.

Two years later, McCaleb has a new heart and a low-profile lifestyle aboard his counter-swanky “yacht”. All is status quo until McCaleb is unexpectedly approached by a beautiful stranger named Graciela (Wanda DeJesus), who claims that her murdered sister’s heart beats where McCaleb’s once pumped his lifeblood. Graciela wants McCaleb to get to the bottom of her sister’s tragic death, arguing that he has a personal stake in the end results.

This one runs like a TV episode of “Matlock”, but it would play better as a pseudo-“Colombo”. Conspicuous star turns by Jeff Daniels (as nautical neighbor Buddy Noone) and Anjelica Huston (as temperamental heart surgeon Bonnie Fox) are more of a distraction than dramatic addition. 

Eastwood can turn on the crusty charm with the best of them, and he knows his way blindfolded around both sides of the camera.  Eastwood the director chooses to play it safe, telegraphing his clues and dropping broad hints where subtle circumspection would be welcome.  All the thriller elements are present and accounted for, albeit blandly whitewashed for mainstream audiences.  Friction with the local cops, client turns love interest, blah, blah, blah. Maybe (just maybe) I’ve seen too many movies, but I saw the twist coming a mile off.  Entertaining, but I like to work harder for my movie satisfaction.