Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Review: Earth and Blood

Release date: April 17, 2020
Running time: 80 minutes
Starring:  Sami Bouajila, Eriq Ebouaney, Samy Seghir

Earth and Blood follows Said (Bouajila), an aging saw mill owner in France, who is dealing with his own health and trying to take care of his mill and his daughter Sarah (Sofia Lesaffre).  However, when Yanis (Seghir) brings something to the sawmill that he shouldn't have, Said gets a visit from drug lord Adama (Ebouaney) that will put his own life, the life of his family, and the fate of his saw mill in jeopardy.  

Earth and Blood is a relatively compact story.  It takes place over the course of a day and most of it occurs on the saw mill or the surrounding area.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as the story revolves around a main conflict, but it does make it feel like you don't get much backstory for any of the people involved.  It feels like you are grazing into their lives and then as quickly as you enter, you are done.  I think part of this was for budget reasons as there are several scenes that seem like they could have been longer or more involved but cut quickly when things heated up.  And the movie also leaves you hanging by ending abruptly.  The movie itself has a muted, dark look that I believe is by design.  It did lead to a certain sameness to the look and feel of the film, which also might be attributed to the fact that it all takes place in a day.  But given that it takes place in a saw mill on a grey day, perhaps this was the intended look for the film.  The dark tone does fit with the overall feel of the movie.

The film itself has some decent, suspenseful action.  It is more of a thriller than an action movie as most of it involves Said trying to outsmart his saw mill invaders.  There are some interesting uses of the surroundings and quick thinking by Said.  And he does a lot of fighting, sneaking, and shooting, which is surprising considering that most of these characters are supposed to be experienced gangsters and thugs.  For this reason, it would have been nice to have some more backstory on Said as well.  Was he ex military?  Was he a hunter?  Did he have experience in this area?  Earth and Blood has some interesting characters, but again we didn't have a chance to really meet them.  I would have loved to know more about Yanis's backstory and family, but it is only hinted at during the film.  Said is an interesting, reserved character but you only get the most basic parts of his story.  And you learn even less about his daughter.  

Earth and Blood has a suspenseful, compact story that feels a little too brief to really get attached to the story or characters. 

Rent it.

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