Mel Gibson returns to screens in what can only be described as a bizarre clash between No Country for Old Men and Pretty Little Liars. With a mix of intense and witty performances, Blood Father is a unique take on the standard action thriller.
Blood Father tells the story of John Link (Gibson), an ex-con who is now two years sober and running a tattoo parlour from his trailer. His missing daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty) gets in contact with him after accidentally shooting her drug-lord boyfriend, thus John is thrust back into his old violent ways as the father-daughter pair go on the run from the cartel sent to hunt down Lydia.
The opening scene sets the tone well for the rest of the film as we see seventeen-year-old Lydia buying multiple boxes of bullets at a supermarket. The bullets pan across the till conveyer belt along with a single packet of Hubba Bubba. She then asks for a packet of cigarettes and it is only at this request that the checkout lady objects, saying, “I’m going to need to see ID for that.” This facetious dig at American gun regulations sets us up for the dark, sarcastic humour that will play throughout.
Gibson really nails the role of tired, cynical, ex-con father, as he ferments at what he will be charged with next whilst stabbing a cartel member in the hand, “There it is, aggravated assault!” The witty back and forth (and biting off of ears) between Gibson and the supporting cast and especially the relationship with his sponsor, Kirby (William H. Macy), is what really sets apart what would be a stereotypical action flick.
The film gets off to a shaky start but really finds its own as the pace quickens, especially when the Sicarios joins the chase. Lydia’s character is not much more than a screaming damsel in distress but this is overshadowed by Gibson’s strong rapport with the rest of the cast.
It will leave you feeling suitably thrilled and maybe slightly bemused due to the bizarre violent humour, but it is nonetheless an entertaining experience.
Image: Georges Biard; Wikimedia Commons