Directed: Jean-François Richet
Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty
Release Date: October 7th
Runtime: 88 minutes
Blood Father is the latest film from French director Jean-François Richet, based on Peter Craig’s novel of the same name. From the start Richet’s action-thriller is gripping, as a tense sequence sees runaway Lydia Link (Erin Moriarty) roped into a crime far out of her depth. Blood Father offers a realistic, yet brutal take on violence, while the snappy dialogue of Lydia’s frenetic father John (Mel Gibson) keeps the mood light and energetic. The eclectic mix of grit, style and Gibson’s aggression work in unison to make the numerous shootouts the highlight of the film.
Outside of the action scenes, however, the film suffers from poorly written dialogue. The gruff and sardonic pieces of advice John gives to Lydia might sound cool between gunshots, but they fall short in calmer moments when they are meant to carry the scene. Some speeches come across as over-written and affect the viewer’s suspension of disbelief.
The acting is excellent, with Gibson and Moriarty pairing well in a damaged, yet touching, father-daughter relationship. However, it can be hard to tell if Moriarty is just unable to match the tone of the film. Portraying addiction in a realistic manner is not a simple task, and as such her performance in the film’s early scenes leaves plenty of room for improvement. However, her development throughout the film lends great depth to her character. She’s a child who’s trying to rebel, but isn’t sure what she should do or what she wants to do. She’s in trouble and she’s afraid, feelings that are ultimately relatable.
Occasionally, Blood Father falls flat on its face, and reeks of a film trying too hard, but when it works it becomes something special. Mel Gibson is at his best here, having plenty of room to be loud, fast and aggressive. If nothing else about this film interests you, go see it for his performance and equally fantastic beard.
In a nutshell –A film that never stops trying to please its audience, from tense action sequences to witty dialogue and, most of the time, it succeeds.