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DVD Review: ‘As Blood Runs Deep’

★★☆☆☆

As Blood Runs Deep (2010) seeks to align itself within the contemporary crime film genre. There’s certainly a distinctive framework in place when we consider the thematic and often tonal similarities of a handful of key examples, including Mystic River (2003), No Country for Old Men (2007) and The Killer Inside Me (2010).

As Blood Runs Deep is a solidly-written and capably-acted piece that’ll keep anyone already accustomed to the conventions of the new crime drama, intrigued. The film begins with an accidental juvenile homicide that occurs during a burglary. The story then explores the solidarity facing both the desperate killers and the small town detectives charged with finding them.

The cinematography in the initial opening produces early expectations that this is not an A-class American picture – in fact, the opening registers positively as a student film – but don’t be put off just yet. While the production values are pretty wobbly, the rest of the film is almost as sturdy as its title of awful. Something that, incidentally will surely prove enough to put most people off before the get-go.

Playing our lead detective is Nick Stahl, an actor who despite having seemingly fallen off the Hollywood radar since his turn as Ryan Conner in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), has always managed to find roles. Which given that he’s not A-list pretty, nor Casey Affleck-gifted, is perfectly understandable.

Once again he suits the screen well enough, but like the rest of the cast, he may look the part, but he never quite manages to feel all that rounded. Which leads me into my main criticism of the film as a whole; it should have been made for TV. It’s cheaper than it ought to be for the strength of its script, which suffers at the hands of the film-makers.

Flitting constantly between the lives of the two criminals, the detective and the mother robbed of her child, the script originally, one could guess, sort to produce ambivalent standpoints between the consequences of class within the justice system. Instead you are left not knowing whose side to take, or who really prevailed in the end, not due to any conflicting emotions but a sense of pointlessness with which most of the events and characters have been handled.

As Blood Runs Deep paints a reasonable portrait of its principle location and characters, but fails to fully flesh them out or give them life beyond their scenes. Too little blood, and too little depth.

Matt Migliorini