By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com May 20, 2013 at 8:30AM
We'd been a little worried that something was up with "Blood Ties." The promise of a team-up of Guillaume Canet and James Gray was terrific, especially on an epic crime 70s-set crime saga, and Canet had assembled a hugely impressive cast for his English-language debut, including Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Zoe Saldana, Matthias Schoenaerts, Mila Kunis, James Caan and Noah Emmerich. But despite Gray's status as a Cannes favorite, the film was being shown out of competition at the festival, and disappointingly, it seems that there was a reason for that; reaction to the film, including our own review, have been rather lukewarm.
And we think we'd have been even more disappointed if the film had screened tonight or tomorrow, because a trailer for the picture has just arrived over at AlloCine, and it makes the film look kind of terrific. The performances look strong (it's a while since we've seen Clive Owen look that engaged), there's a gritty style to the thing very much of a piece with Gray's earlier work, and there's plenty of potential for drama here.
And per our review, all of that's true in the final film, but it unfortunately doesn't quite hold together; Kevin wrote in his verdict yesterday that "with so much narrative to juggle, Canet's film never has a moment to breathe. The film plows headlong into its story, but the emotional weight it wants to carry never has a moment to settle for it's gravity to be felt." That said, he also felt that "the film is still compelling and watchable, and that "there is a different and possibly shorter edit of this movie that is probably much better." So perhaps Canet will be inspired to go back to the cutting room? The film doesn't yet have U.S. distribution, but will hit cinemas in France on October 30th, so he's got plenty of time...