Running Time: 108 mins
Rated: MA 15+
Blood Work starts the way you expect: detective Clint pursues a serial killer who is enjoying the media coverage given to the cat and mouse games
of murder and detection. This relationship of sorts surprisingly becomes the key to the resolution of the murder mystery. Clint does a lot of
running in those early minutes of the film and I, for one, wanted to call
out to get him to slow down, to stop, to think about his heart giving out.
Well, that was what Clint wanted us to feel. He does have a heart attack.
Then he undergoes a heart transplant - which is the other main element for
solving the murder mystery.
Clint Eastwood experiencing a new heart? And, his new heart is that of a
30 year old Mexican woman, mother of a young son. Blood Work does show us
the old Clint but it also shows us the new. No need to say any longer, 'Have a heart..'. He has one. He has to accept and not reject (physically or emotionally) something of the personality of the donor. The enjoyment of the movie is watching Clint take on a case for personalised reasons (the murder of the donor, the dramatic appeal of the donor's sister, the little boy for whom he becomes surrogate father - and/or grandfather).
One of the pleasing features of Blood Work is how often Clint Eastwood
smiles. Of course, he has plenty to be grim about with the murders and the
final confrontation with the villain - where he clearly approves of capital punishment and is not hesitant to act as executioner. But, his new lease of life with his new heart, the concern he shows to many of the characters that he would not have in past movies, the putting himself out for humane reasons, even the wish-fulfilment-rather-than-reality falling in love, make him a much more sympathetic character than usual.
Clint Eastwood does not hide his age in his movies. Now he is showing us his attempts to integrate his opposites into a more rounded personality.
Fr Peter MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the world
association of Catholic Communicators.