It’s a tricky business adapting a TV series into a film, not just because you have the standard already set by the small-screen version but also a lot less time in which to fit in the story.
Blood is based on the 2004 award-winning series Conviction and stars Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham as police officer brothers Joe and Chrissie Fairburn who are handling a case involving a murdered 12-year-old girl. On lack of evidence the suspected killer walks free so they take the law into their own hands only to discover they’ve made a horrible mistake.
Nick Murphy (whose last film was the chilling The Awakening) delivers a melancholic film that deals head on with guilt and morality, dripping with mood and atmosphere and never sparing on the gory details of the situation at hand.
It really puts you in the shoes of the main characters as Joe and Chrissie struggle with the dark secret of what they’ve done and asks: what would you do in this situation? How would you react? Crucially the film never overplays things or forces you to any sort of firm resolution; you are very much left to make up your mind.
Tension is built as things move into more thriller-like territory when Mark Strong’s lone wolf police officer Robert starts to get suspicious – Strong has perhaps the most interesting role to play – and there’s a rather effective plot device in Brian Cox’s Lenny, father of Joe and Chrissie whose old age forgetfulness serves as not only a way to deepen the character’s back story but also to create apprehension over whether or not he’ll blurt the truth out while the brothers are trying to cover it up.
It’s very apparent that the film is based on a TV series and it never really manages to break out of the fact that it very much feels like a two-part BBC drama. Still, excellent performances from its first-rate British cast elevate the proceedings to make for a compelling watch that lingers in the mind.
This review was also published in The Journal.