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Blood (15)

Hilbre Island in an unspeakably grisly light in a tale of cops gone bad

Written by . Published on May 31st 2013.

Blood (15)

ONCE upon a time there was a BBC Three series called Conviction which was a forerunner of many of today's gritty crime dramas. 

But another seed was sown there in 2004. Now Conviction is a feature film with a stark title - Blood. 

There is a significant Merseyside tie: nearly all exterior - and some interior - scenes were shot on the Wirral and the Vines pub in Lime Street, although this is not a Liverpool film. 

Blood is a tale of two brothers, both cops, played by Paul Bettany as weary Joe and our very own multi-versatile Stephen Graham as upbeat Chrissie. 

They don't look remotely like siblings, but we  suspend that belief, for both are on the same wavelength ... one instigated by their retired police chief dad, Lenny, played by multi award-winning actor Brian Cox. 

Blood_Stephen_Graham_Brian_Cox_Paul_Bettany_1Stephen Graham, Brian Cox and Paul_Bettany

Cox's character still thinks he runs the department - with his iron fist, no-holds-barred, hit-first-ask-questions-later mentality. Sadly, he has Alzheimers and, in one cruel scene, he turns up at his old office, uninvited. Bewildered colleagues look on and he berates the state of his desk and it is left to his sons put their deluded dad right. 

The film opens with a grisly shot of a brutally murdered schoolgirl. In reality, her body would have been covered up, the crime scene cordened off, and not left open to a crowd of angry onlookers. That is just one of a flew dubious scenarios, but the film is packed with enough tension for us all to move on. 

The girl has a tattoo that says “4 Real”  It's a clue and one of many that unfold. 

Prime suspect is Jason Buleigh, a sinister looking  born again Christian (played by Ben Crompton) who looks set to walk. Unfortunately, for him, the two brothers are passionate about justice, no matter what methods, (reminiscent of The Sweeney with John Thaw at the helm). And both have family issues: extreme violent behaviour being one. 

A confrontational  scene on Hilbre Island is chilling and you can almost feel the wind in your hair as the bleak encounter goes beyond the point of no return. It’s 3D with a difference. 

But is the blood of the title thicker than water?

Stephen Graham's Chrissie is a highlight of this fast paced thriller with plenty of psychological turns. 

The acting is first class and when you see that superb producer Nicola Schindler is part of the creative team it bodes well. 

There are some graphic close-ups, but you can look away at those moments and soak in the well-written screenplay by Brian Gallagher or observe Nick Murphy's direction of this BBC co-production, which shows Wallasey Town Hall and Leasowe Lighthouse in a new light. 

Look out for Liverpool’s Natasha Little - another Merseyside star of the future - and let's hope the newly set up Wirral Film Office takes up where this film leaves off.  Liverpool has a lot of the attention in the past. Maybe the tide is turning.

Opens Friday at selected cinemas including The Light, Kings Parade, New Brighton.

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Barry TurnbullJune 3rd 2013.

You're being a tad kind Granty. Stephen Graham usually sounds like a plate of steaming Scouse but here is more like Brian Sewell on benzodiazopines. Very strange. Scenes are disjointed and script lacks insight. Nice views though!

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