What a stroke of luck it was to have Wesley Ellenwood's film "No Blood Of Mine" appear front and center in my inbox. Not a stroke of luck for the film itself, rather for me personally. Every now and then I get to review a film that happens to be my preferred genre. Just so happens... I loved those old nineties movies such as The Client and The Rainmaker. It also just so happens, that the vibe of this film closely resembles that same feeling I'd get watching them. A win-win in my eyes.
Victoria Schaffer has her problems. The biggest being a forty thousand dollar debt owed not to the bank, rather to a mobster of sorts. A person you don't want to mess around with. Her big idea? To sell off her failing/failed business to her biological father. Securing the funds to pay her debt and move on. Victoria was born from an affair and distanced from the family - and the family fortune. This "sale" of sorts is based on the hope, that her aging father would hold some form of sympathy towards her... and he does. Things change quickly however, when he is murdered. Making matters worse? That above mentioned mobster, J P, is closing in. He wants his money and will do whatever it takes to get it. Did I happen to mention Victoria is not quite the naive, innocent woman she makes herself out to be? This is the abridged version of Wesley Ellenwood's film, minus some of the more colorful twists and turns along the way. And it was a pleasure to watch.
This is a slower running flick, but not a boring one. The pacing itself is what reminds me most of the studio films I mentioned above. As does the scoring and even, to some extent, the overall plot arc. I write this with a positive hand because in my opinion, they don't make movies like this any more. "No Blood Of Mine" of course, features some twists and turns along the way, and enough of an open ended mystery as you could hope to get... assuming you wanted to keep some reasonable doubt present for the way things turn out. Regarding the technical side of the film? Pretty damn nice if you ask me. The cinematography remains sharp. The pacing of the movie feels right and the underscore fits spot on. I will be the first to admit that this movie feels ten to fifteen minutes longer than it should have been. This feeling however, may be attributed to watching the film on a computer screen.
The cast of this movie is large. Individual write-ups would make this review three or four times longer than it is. For the most part however, the cast did a great job with these complex characters. I did feel some of the dialog may have been a little hollow feeling at times, yet can't decide if it was the dialog as it was written, or the deliveries themselves. However, this was a minor non-issue. Never enough to bring me out of the film - more a curiosity at times... at best.
Since she was the leading lady, I do feel it worth noting that Sierra Schermerhorn had no problem leading the charge as Victoria. Casting her was a great decision. Come to think of it, the casting in general should all be praised. This may not be an overly complex film in terms of dialog and concept, we've seen this movie before in one form or another, but it's no simpleton either. If not for a troupe of talented cast mates, "No Blood Of Mine" could easily have been deemed unwatchable.
The slower pacing of this film may not sit well with the younger generation - and that's alright. There are plenty of us over 25-30 folk who love a good murder mystery. Focusing on the characters and story, for myself, has paid off in spades. This was an easy to watch film that tells a great story - and looks pretty doing it. Storms of bullets and explosions are not always the way to make a great film. Ghosts and demons don't always rule the silver screen. When done right, a good old fashioned murder mystery can be just what the doctor ordered. A solid four out of five stars.