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Blood Work (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

Blood Work

Blood Work


Starring Clint Eastwood, Wanda DeJesus, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston, Paul Rodriquez, Tina Lifford and Dylan Walsh. 

Screenplay by Brian Helgeland.

Directed by Clint Eastwood.

Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures.  110 Minutes.  Rated R.

Blood Work actually takes the old standard serial killer genre and gives it an interesting twist.  Clint Eastwood plays FBI profiler Terry McCaleb, who suffers a heart failure while chasing a serial killer who has been playing cat-and-mouse with him.  McCaleb has a heart transplant, and is slowly healing and  getting used to the slow lane when a mysterious woman asks him to investigate the murder of her sister.  McCaleb refuses, saying he’s retired, but the sister tells him the victim was the organ donor who gave him his new heart.

McCaleb agrees grudgingly, but soon he is getting the fever of being on an investigation again, even though it can potentially kill him. McCaleb’s body is failing him and unless he takes it easy his body will reject his new heart, a fact constantly pointed out by his cardiologist Anjelica Huston (it’s wonderful to see Huston back on the screen, hopefully between this and The Royal Tenenbaums she will start working more often again.)

A wonderful supporting cast also features Jeff Daniels as a ne’er-do-well neighbor and Wanda DeJesus is striking as the sister of a murder victim (although the love scene between 72-year-old Eastwood and 30-ish DeJesus is a little disturbing, even though it is handled rather demurely.)  

The rest of the story is mostly well done, though not as original as the premise.  This is a well-written and enjoyable genre-piece, but it’s not perfect.  Not that it’s a major plot point, but it is kind of lazy script-writing that we never know why a cop played by Paul Rodriquez hates Eastwood’s character so much.  More disturbing is the fact that anyone who knows anything about movies will know who the killer is a half hour into the movie… though most likely not what the killer’s motivation would be.  

Blood Work is a solid thriller, nothing more, nothing less.  (8/02)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Posted: November 6, 2002.

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