As Blood Runs Deep (a.k.a. Meskada), 2010.
Directed by Josh Sternfeld.
Starring Nick Stahl, Rachel Nichols, Kellan Lutz, Jonathan Tucker, Grace Gummer and Laura Benanti.
Small-town detective Noah Cordin is called to solve a juvenile homicide that occurred during a home burglary in his affluent town of Hilliard. The dead boy’s mother, Allison Connor, is a member of the Meskada County Board of Commissioners, and a powerful woman in Hilliard; and the entire township rallies together in solidarity – to support her and Detective Cordin’s efforts to find the killers.
Every now and again, there comes a crime drama which mixes together a twisting plot with breathtaking delivery. The set up is brutally unleashed, the characters are defined with such pin sharp detail that you could imagine them existing in real life, and the ending is delivered like an explosive whirlwind of true justice. Not only this, but the general execution shows that a lot of mothering care was applied, as well as the cast slipping into the roles like a sexy second skin. All of these add up to what a truly good crime movie should be, and somehow As Blood Runs Deep missed all of them completely.
I don’t want to be harsh on this film, as it feels from the very beginning that this should have been made for TV, rather than for feature length release. Everything about it feels cheaper than it should be, but we’ll be on to that later. I best set the film up before I shoot it down slightly. It’s only fair. In the small white trash American town of Hilliard, a child is accidentally murdered during a home invasion by two criminals. As it turns out, the mother of the murdered boy, Allison Connor, is an important figure on the county board of commissioners, so you can imagine the amount of support she is bound to get after this heinous act.
Enter detective Noah Cordin, played by the young John Connor from Terminator 3. Ok, so that’s not the best introduction for the chap, but we’ll work on it. Noah is called onto the case with the help of a predictably sexy detective played by Rachel Nichols. We’re also given an exclusive viewpoint on the criminals themselves as they drink, swear and fuck their way through the film. It’s almost as if the film thinks we’ve forgotten they’re the villains of the film and we need constant reminding that we shouldn’t be cheering them on. And that’s a major problem with this film; I don’t know who to cheer on. Everyone feels like a stock character. I even found it hard to side with the grief stricken Mrs Connor. If a film is failing at making you feel sorry for a mother who has lost her child, then something isn’t going right.
Also, there’s an annoying feeling that the film is not moving fast enough. The first bit of tension pops up about 40 minutes into the film where one of the criminals is talking to Noah, and even then nothing really happens. About 86% of the film is just people talking, and about 5% of it is vaguely interesting. It’s almost as if we’re witnessing all the dialogue that would have been left out of a normal film. Then there’s the issue mentioned at the beginning about the film feeling cheap. First major problem was the use of the camera. Several pans felt like the tripod was rusted beyond repair, as well as the sense that the cameraman had a slight idea on what was the object of focus. It’s a Mis En Scene nightmare!
The only thing that I could admit to liking in this film was the music during the opening credits. It was rather wonderful in a moody kind of way. Everything else about the film just felt unnecessary. There is probably little reason why anyone should watch this. It’s not awful, just incredibly pointless.
Will Preston is a freelance writer from Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website) and makes short films.