Bullhead star Matthias Schoenaerts), a criminal he himself put away.
The excitement whipped up during the film's opening, which features a violent police bust scored to the stomping New York Groove, promises much. Despite a multitude of floral shirts, impressive sideburns and a nicely muted, era-aping colour palette (and what seventies homage would be complete without Caan thrown in for good measure) the resulting film goes on to hit the same old genre machinations. The over-familiar Scorsese-esque period jukebox (The Velvet Underground's Heroin in a scene depicting the use of heroin...again) only underscores the film's lack of originality. As the director proved with his last feature, 2010's Little White Lies, he can work wonders with an ensemble, and while the male performances are solid (Crudup is the shining light) the female cast is lumbered with pretty thankless roles, and even Canet's real-life partner Cotillard feels very underused here. Blood Ties is undeniably well-made and remains watchable, but save for the occasional flashes of class, the majority of the time it operates on a purely perfunctory level.