by Hugh Fisher
“Bloodworth,” which explores the darker passions of a southern family, has the potential to be a truly riveting movie.
The acting is great, thanks to a cast of both well-known stars and Hollywood newcomers.
Where “Bloodworth” falls short is development and depth, failing to explore the motivations behind its interesting characters.
The Bloodworth family lives in the backwoods of Tennessee. Patriarch E.F. Bloodworth (Kris Kristofferson), who left his wife and three sons decades before, is coming home.
The elder Bloodworth is what Johnny Cash would have been if he’d never made it big.The three sons who grew up without him are human wreckage. Warren (Val Kilmer) is a cocky, Cadillac-driving music producer who uses women, booze and drugs; Brady (W. Earl Brown) is an amalgam of backwater preacher and mystic and Boyd (Dwight Yoakam) works on cars. Boyd is the father of Fleming (Reece Thompson), a twenty-something dropout with dreams of being a writer.
The problem with this movie should already be clear: There are too many characters in “Bloodworth” who are, well, characters.
Raven (Hilary Duff) is the daughter of a call girl. At 17, she’s already well on track to follow her mother, but she’s got a brain and a heart.
Once they get to know one another, it’s clear Fleming and Raven are the black sheep of their respective families – they break the rules by being normal.
Another problem is the very slow pacing. While this is definitely a movie about lazy, hazy days in the rural south, the story moves at a snail’s pace. At 105 minutes, there’s not a lot of time for an in-depth exploration of much of anything, even at a moderate pace. I kept waiting for the plot of “Bloodworth” to take off, to learn more about E.F. Bloodworth’s past.
As a character study, “Bloodworth” looks at violent passions that, like a hurricane, leave violence and devastation in their wake. What “Bloodworth” leaves unexplored, to its detriment, are the causes for these passions.
The world we see from director Shane Dax Taylor (whose only other credit is 2004 indie title “The Grey”) is run-down, used up. It’s full of vintage cars, falling-down houses and unrealized potential.
Overall, “Bloodworth” is enjoyable if only because it shows the struggle to overcome inner darkness. The story is timeless, the characters interesting without being two-dimensional. If only there were more time to bring that storytelling to its fullest potential.
Grade: 2/4 stars