Monday, May 11, 2020

Movie with Abe: Blood and Money

Blood and Money
Directed by John Barr
Released May 15, 2020

Many people start to panic when they realize they’re trapped somewhere in a place that feels too constricting and claustrophobic, and that there may be no way to escape. The opposite can also be true – that when such a vast, open space exists that makes determining where it ends and something else begins almost impossible, someone can be overwhelmed and become distraught about the possibility of surviving. Insert villainous elements and the allure of claiming a large cash prize into a place with few places to hide, and anyone involved is bound to be in for a tense experience.

Jim (Tom Berenger) is a retired veteran living in North Maine who has his routine. He frequents the same restaurant and talks to the same waitress, and spends a good deal of his time hunting. One day, his uneventful life gets a whole lot more interesting when he comes across a wounded woman next to a large amount of money. After she dies, he learns that a recent robbery nearby went awry, and that her accomplices are likely still out there and looking for what he’s taken from their hiding place. Facing his own deteriorating health, Jim must stay one step ahead of the criminals who will stop at nothing to get their money.

This film’s title itemizes the things that transform its protagonist’s tranquil existence into a fight for survival. Jim is presented as someone who has mastered the art of keeping to himself, not necessarily antisocial but having been through enough to decide how he wants to spend his time. His relationship with the only people he cares about – his family – isn’t exactly warm, and he lives in an area where, as the opening cards note, there are no towns or paved roads. Living an anonymous life presents its advantages, but also means that, if there are people after him, he has no one on his side but himself.

Berenger is an actor best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in “Platoon” and his Emmy-winning turn in the miniseries “Hatfields and McCoys.” This is a very solitary performance, one that mostly finds him traipsing through the snowy woods and squinting into the whiteness as he searches the landscape for his pursuers or takes aim with a gun. It’s an effective portrayal given what the role demands, and this film delivers on its premise, following a lonely man on a dangerous journey with the potential to either transform his legacy or end his life.


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