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Blood Money Review

Blood Money is a 2017 thriller about three friends on a wilderness excursion who must outrun a white collar criminal hellbent on retrieving his cash, but soon their greed turns them against each other.

Money rarely brings friends together in movies. A sudden fortune only proves that there are monsters living deep inside us, only waiting to burst out given the chance to be rich. With Lucky McKee‘s Blood Money, it’s no less different in this, another story of people divided by a large sum of cash that falls into their unsuspecting hands.

Three young and good friends Victor (Ellar Coltrane), Jeff (Jacob Artist) and Lynn (Willa Fitzgerald), each with some personal history, take off into the woods for a weekend river-rafting trip. There’s clearly some feelings brewing between the boys and the girl, with Lynn and Jeff flirting with a possible new romance while Victor certainly harbors his own (justified) wanting. The three play and bicker about as they head farther down the river until they come upon a man named Miller (John Cusack), who we see earlier jumping out of a small plane with several large bags of money, of which he becomes separated. When the group stumble upon it, everything changes and divides them as they become hunted by a madman intent on getting back what he’s stolen.

Blood Money is a film of convenience, where all roads collide with very specific purpose. It’s an often slow and meandering experience with contrived encounters and expositional dialogue. There’s a good half hour of setup before Lynn finds the money washed up on the shore one morning and she, already bitter over a knee injury that stripped her of her scholarship and two boys that do nothing but squabble for her attention, instantly transforms into a self-centered monster that sees the eight million dollars as a ticket to her future. Victor wants to turn the money in while Jeff sides with Lynn, though he quickly learns that might not have been the best idea. Meanwhile, Victor leaves them behind and runs right into Miller. And that’s only one of a few more inconceivable coincidences that work only to move the story forward.

And here’s where the film gains a little hope, with the love triangle actually inspiring some decent twists as Lynn turns the story around to be about her own worth as a woman and how it’s seen and bartered for by the boys. She is reduced to something they can own. Too bad it’s not explored more as the rest of the film is swimming in the shallow end, with a literal trail of money for people to follow. While Cusack spends most of the film being a kind of laidback lunatic just wanting to ‘get off the grid’, he at least makes it convincing. The others, as hard as they try, are mostly left to the failures of the script that force everything into a narrow path. The dialogue rarely feels authentic, aside from a few good moments that highlight Lynn’s evolution. It’s the movie’s only real saving grace.

Given the subject and potential, there’s plenty here that should be exciting. There’s a couple of themes at play and while none are fleshed out as well as could be, at least McKee tries to give it some momentum. It’s comes a little late in the last act, but it does stay true to the setup and Fitzgerald does some good work. She alone might make it worth a look.

Blood Money Review

Movie description: Blood Money is a 2017 thriller about three friends on a wilderness excursion who must outrun a white collar criminal hellbent on retrieving his cash, but soon their greed turns them against each other.

Director(s): Lucky McKee

Actor(s): John Cusack, Ellar Coltrane, Willa Fitzgerald

Genre: Thriller

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