Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fantasia '16 Film Review - Blood Father

Does art imitate life or is it the other way around? Mel Gibson in recent years has been caught on the street saying mean things, caught on tape saying even worse and spiraled downhill from an A list perch as an actor. In the world of Hollywood he hit rock bottom then fell through to the sub basement. Therefore it's fitting that he would take role in a foreign backed father-daughter protector film by a French director. Gibson is largely playing to type here and does a very good job in doing so.

In his first moments on screen John Link (Gibson) is celebrating his two year sobriety and his one year anniversary of being out of prison. He's in an AA meeting in a California desert community where he makes a few bucks working out of his trailer as a tattoo artist with his sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy) a stones throw away. Link has two worries, keeping sober and giving his parole office no reason to pay him much attention. Both of these goal are put as risk once his estranged runaway daughter Lydia (Erin Moriaty) gives him a call looking for help. It turns out she's been on the wrong side of the law for a while now as well. Her boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) is a leader of a notorious Latino gang plus he's run a foul with the Cartel back in Mexico.

Most of director Jean-Francois Richet's piece has the pair on the run on the road. The script hits all of the necessary cliches, the APB flashed on the motel room TV, the young desk clerk that taking a liking to one of our hero's and helping them out. The need to shave and or change hair colour. But the narrative has some original passages as well; one a visit to an old pal who has changed and disappoints. The other into the last place you'd expect a fugitive from the law to go to obtain vital information on their main advisory.

Erin Moriaty holds her own on screen opposite Gibson in the role of Lydia. At the time when she makes the call she is more of a criminal than her dad. On the road she shows her resourcefulness in gathering helpful information. She's even willing to go it alone to protect her father, as she's the main target of the gang and the police. Gibson for his part is very ruff at the outset of the film. His real life hard living, self-inflicted wounds looking larger that life on the big screen. He's very at home in the role and highly believable as an ex-con, prison smart tattoo artist. The role givens him a chance to rage once again.

The premise of Blood Father is very simple and there are no real surprises in the story. The production is a revenge action thriller with a short run time that will play well to the films target audience. If the right people get to see the film domestically Gibson's performance might be enough to spark a comeback Stateside.

*** Out of 4.

Blood Father | Jean-Francois Richet | France | 2016 | 88 Minutes.

Tags: Ex-Con, AA Sponsor, Biker, High Desert, Mexican Cartel, Sicario, Biker, White Supremacist.

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