Sunday, August 30, 2009

Clint Eastwood's earlier film "Blood Work" is a workmankike medical thriller

Clint Eastwood, besides being known for his libertarian leanings, has gradually evolved his contemplative directoral style with big but eclectic films like “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby”, even composing background music.

His earlier thriller “Blood Work” (2002, Warner Brothers) is more like your standard set-up of intractable problems for good storytelling and three-part screenwriting. The movie is based on the novel by Michael Connelly, adapted screenplay by Brian Helgeland.

Eastwood plays Terry McCaleb, a retired detective who has accepted a heart transplant. While still very feeble, he is approached by the sister of his heart donor to solve her demise. Terry is already upset that he owes his life to evil, your classic moral dilemma. He traces, through some lab work, connections between some cases he had worked on as a detective, and finds that the victims were marked because they had been organ donors. He eventually tracks down the killer on a boat, and the killer’s motive is bizarre (“Cane and Abel”), to say the least; maybe this sort of thing happens in Hitchcock. Sometimes people are manipulated by motives that seem almost supernatural.

The purely medical aspects of the movie are not played up too much. Eastwood is not as weak as he “should be”. The surgery sounds mutilating, disfiguring; but the prednisone causes him to have to shave three times a day. In real life, he would face the constant threat of organ rejection.

Much of the film was shot on location in Long Beach, CA.

Wikimedia attribution license for photo of Long Beach. My last visit there was Feb. 2002.

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