Anthony's Film Review

Blood Work (2002)

An average but still entertaining thriller despite changing the novel's plot...

For Clint Eastwood fans, Blood Work is another directorial project in his lifelong career in movies. It's not exactly at the top, but rather it's somewhere in the middle. There are also people who want to see the movie because it's based on a novel by Michael Connelly. This is where, unfortunately, the disappointment may seep in. From what I have heard and experienced myself, those who haven't read the book may like the film, and many of those who have read the book may dislike the changes.

Another complaint from the audience is that Eastwood may be too old for the role of retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb. Fans of the novel are more likely to complain about this because the character in the book is much younger. Yet, the first half of the film does a decent job following the book. McCaleb is visited by Graciela Rivers, who wants him to find out who killed her sister. Since he recently had a heart transplant, which made him retire in the first place, he needs his neighbor Buddy to drive him around during his investigation.

McCaleb has several other law enforcement officials helping out, including Jaye Winston and Detective Arrango. McCaleb and Arrango had been on a case before in which they tried to hunt down the Code Killer. This new killer, as McCaleb finds out, may be just as difficult to track down. Throughout all of this, he develops a love relationship with Graciela, so the film does work in having the story also revolve around a little human emotion.

But let me go back to how the conversion of the novel to this film is not 100%. There are also a few changes in the last names of certain characters, which may actually be major changes if you have read the book. There is also a scene where a kid helps provide an important clue. The problem is not just the fact that this doesn't exactly happen in the book, but also this is done so quickly as if this kid could see the future. I will not spoil the film, but I will say that the biggest problem with adapting the novel is that the identity of the killer has dramatically changed.

I still enjoyed it for a few reasons. I did like how the film still followed the book in the beginning instead of ignoring it completely. The first scene with McCaleb before retirement is not bad since the first page of the novel goes straight into McCaleb's retirement years. I do like a lot of the cast, including Wanda De Jesus as Graciela and Jeff Daniels as Buddy.

Overall, I rank the film somewhere in the middle. Not totally boring or unoriginal, but still could be better by following the book closely. If a book is so brilliantly written by its author, is there any reason not to follow it entirely if the author deserves much for creating it?

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Blood Work, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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