I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a film where the score literally does all the heavy lifting. Nick Bohun‘s score for BLOOD FOR DUST score begins with the first frame and it thunders on to the last. Even when the film has rare moment of silence the score and it’s beat is rumbling through your head. This doesn’t mean that Bohun‘s work is bad, it’s not. It’s everything you want in a score, setting the mood and enhancing the action. It’s actually good enough that it should be up for awards. The problem is that director Ron Blackhurst has slathered it so heavily over his film that I don’t know what I think of the film.
The plot of the film has a traveling salesman losing his job and jumping at an opportunity presented by a friend. He quickly finds out its transporting drugs and guns for a very bad guy. Things do not go smoothly
Beautifully shot in amber tones that make the film look and feel like the modern film noir it is, this is a film that has images which will haunt you. You feel the desperation and sadness in every image.
Unfortunately Blackgurst‘s choices don’t really work leaving us strangely unmoved by what we are seeing. Beginning with the over use of the score the film works over time to try and pull us in but the more it does it keeps us outside. The film becomes an exercise in style over content where we are left wondering why it isn’t working. Everyone is dour and down trodden. No one smiles, they only grimace. While the cast is game and disappear in to their roles (it took me a moment to recognize Kit Harrington and Josh Lucas) they aren’t given much to do other than look unhappy. They are good at it but there are no characters just frumpy people. They pull if off real well but they don’t have any real range.
Not having range is something that haunts the film from the get go. The film begins with a suicide and just stays bleak and unhappy. There is no thrill ride and decent into the depths because we’re there. The film is so lacking in light we know that it isn’t really going to get better because in this world life sucks. Shiny Happy People don’t exist even as a song.
Ten minutes into the film I was wondering why I was watching because I knew nothing was going to really change, miserable people were going to get through a miserable situation and still be miserable.
Unless you have to see every film noir, I’d skip this.