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With: Tom Berenger, Kristen Hager, Jimmy LeBlanc
Written by: John Barr, Alan Petherick
Directed by: John Barr
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 89
Date: 05/15/2020

Blood and Money (2020)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Maine Drag

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

While this thriller effectively evokes its chilly Maine setting, the lethargic story feels like a collection of familiar scenes slapped together in the right order, but still failing to work together.

In Blood and Money, Jim Reed (Tom Berenger) is a veteran, haunted by the death of his daughter. He lives a solitary existence in a small camper-truck, and regularly goes hunting in the sprawling Maine woods. At a cafe, he speaks with troubled server Debbie (Kristen Hager), and learns about a nearby bank robbery.

In the woods, while trying to shoot an elusive buck, he accidentally shoots a woman. He panics and runs, but realizes he dropped one of his cigarettes at the scene. Going back to retrieve it, he discovers a big bag of money. He decides to take it, but unfortunately, the rest of the bank robbers are out looking for it, and they're not happy.

The image of a dead body and a bag of money in the snow recalls things like Fargo or A Simple Plan, but the visual richness and narrative brilliance of those movies only make Blood and Money look even more pallid. Scenes in which Jim talks with Debbie, or meets a man in an AA meeting, are meant to enrich his character, but they are so disconnected to everything else, they just feel like stepping stones. Other scenes attempt severe stretches of logic.

Eventually there's no real reason to care about much of anything. Berenger — an Oscar nominee for Platoon — is a forceful actor, and he looks natural holding a rifle or tromping around in the great outdoors, but for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to be able to convey his character's deep anguish.

Even weirder, despite the guilt and grief his character is supposed to have (his own drunk driving was responsible for his daughter's death), his actions don't really reflect this. (He atones for his violence with more violence.) Ultimately, Blood and Money is about as thrilling as its generic title.

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