Blood and Money review – grizzled wilderness thriller
Cinematographer-turned-director John Barr serves up a generic thriller: the title lets you know that what you’ve got on the label is what you’ve got in the can. It’s a by-the-numbers pictures in some ways, with a stolen bag of loot that could put you in mind of Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan. Derivative it might be, but it’s also pretty watchable, thanks to a leading turn from Tom Berenger as Jim, a Vietnam veteran – lonely, ageing, ailing – who now lives in his RV, and hunts deer in the snowy forested wilderness of Allagash in northern Maine, sometimes without the proper permits.
Jim is slowing up these days and one morning, angry with himself for earlier letting a deer get away, he glimpses some movement in the distant underbrush, fires immediately and to his horror realises that he has fatally shot a woman – one of a fugitive gang of armed robbers he’d heard about the night before. Jim isn’t tempted by the bulging bag of cash by her corpse and grimly drives away without reporting anything, but later realises that the cigarette butts from the distinctive brand he prefers (and has been noticed buying in a local convenience store) could link him to the crime, so he must drive back into this vast trackless woodland, clean up the incriminating cigarette ends, and then … well … have another long thoughtful look at that huge amount of discarded money that no one else seems to know about. Of course, there are no prizes for guessing whether he succumbs to temptation or if the other robbers are going to take a dim view: some of the plot points clunk a bit, but Barr does a workmanlike job putting it all together and there is some great location work, particularly the rather amazing icy cave where Jim hides the cash and then has to hide out himself, facing a tough decision as to what he can burn to keep warm.
Blood and Money is available in cinemas and on digital platforms from 16 October.