IN THE BLOOD
Independent British Crime thriller from debut director Mark Abraham, In the Blood centres on Johnny, a low-level junkie whose safe-cracking grandfather has just died. After the funeral, a gang of violent gangsters then kidnaps Johnny, believing that he can open a safe for them. He is taken to a farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere, gets thrown in the basement and is told to crack the safe. But, after a long time of not getting a fix, withdrawal starts to kick in and the ghosts of Johnny’s past comes back to haunt him. He’s consumed by guilt of not doing right with his grandfather and has no clue about whether or not he’s able to open the safe, even if he survives his ordeal. As time ticks away, tensions rise between the gang members and things get bloody very quickly.
Being made on a minimalist budget, this is nevertheless a solid debut for Abraham, who opts for a very low-key approach. Even though the film starts uneasily slow, it suddenly begins to find its feet as soon as the kidnapping happens, and from there, you do feel the pain and the batterings that goes on as the film progresses. The look, tone and atmosphere are immensely stark and gritty, and you certainly feel the grit and the grime that the film offers. You also feel confined as well, and film has a claustrophobic uncertainty and panic, from the way the small sets are shot to the frequent uses of close-ups on the actors’ faces, which is all reflected in Andy Bloom’s perfectly constrained script. There’s almost a hint of the outstanding Disappearance of Alice Creed about it, which is no bad thing, yet the film lacks the edge, the bite and the surprise of Disappearance of Alice Creed.
Even though the film is nearly 90 minutes long, the principal characters are compelling enough to be thoroughly interesting. There is no annoying cockney-gangster stereotypes or any toe-curling Pinteresque criminal speak to be found here at all. All the characters have different layers about them, with each layer being unique, despite how briefly glimpsed it may be. Having proved popular with the likes of TV’s Skins and Peaky Blinders, Joe Cole is compelling as the main anti-hero, giving a performance that perfectly balances the right mixture of both determination and vulnerability. The supporting players each give solid performances, whilst both Peter Bowles and Phil Davis lend an air of gravitas to the proceedings.
While it may not completely reinvent or breath new life into the Brit-crime sub-genre and is not as iconic as The Disappearance of Alice Creed, In the Blood never manages to be boring or stale, and it promises big things to come for Mark Abraham. It is thoroughly compelling throughout, boasts solid performances, and on deserves a watch from even the average viewer.
Special Features: None
INFO: IN THE BLOOD / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MARK ABRAHAM / SCREENPLAY: ANDY BLOOM / STARRING: JOE COLE, PETER BOWLES, ALISON STEADMAN, PHILLIP DAVIS, STUART GRAHAM / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 1ST