Blood and Money

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Blood and Money Movie Poster Image
Lethargic thriller with violence, language, smoking.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 89 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Ostensibly, movie is about making up for a grievous error, but its messages are mixed. A drunk driver who killed a woman decides to stop drinking, but he doesn't give up violence. Ultimate attempt at redemption feels somewhat empty.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are rather flat. Most are dealing with painful pasts, with no idea how to move forward.

Violence

Frequent guns and shooting. Several characters are shot, many killed. Lots of bloody wounds. Hitting with blunt object. Long, brutal fall down a hill. Broken leg. Dead deer. Coughing blood. Car on fire. News clipping about someone killed by a drunk driver.

Sex
Language

Uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "bastard," and "damn," plus exclamatory uses of "oh my God" and "Jesus," and "Jesus Christ."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character is recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon and drinks shots of whiskey at a bar. Scene at an AA meeting. News clipping about a drunk driver. Bottle of whiskey shown. Frequent cigarette smoking by main character and others.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blood and Money is a thriller about a veteran/hunter (Tom Berenger) with a dark past who runs across a bank robber and a bag of money in the Maine woods. Expect lots of guns and shooting, characters being killed, a dead deer, bloody wounds (and a broken leg), coughing blood, a car on fire, and a brutal tumble down a big hill. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "motherf----r," "a--hole," and more. The main character is a recovering alcoholic. He attends an AA meeting but then falls off the wagon and drinks two shots of whiskey. There's a newspaper clipping about a fatal drunk driving accident. The main character frequently smokes cigarettes, as do others.

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What's the story?

In BLOOD AND MONEY, Jim Reed (Tom Berenger) is a veteran who's haunted by the death of his daughter. He lives a solitary existence in a small camper truck and regularly goes hunting in the sprawling Maine woods. At a café, Jim speaks with troubled server Debbie (Kristen Hager) and learns about a nearby bank robbery. In the woods, while trying to nab an elusive buck, Jim accidentally shoots a woman instead. He panics and runs, and then realizes that he dropped one of his cigarettes at the scene. Going back to retrieve it, he discovers a big bag of money. He decides to take it -- but, unfortunately, the rest of the bank robbers are out looking for it, and they're not happy.

Is it any good?

While this thriller effectively evokes its chilly Maine setting, its lethargic story feels like a collection of familiar scenes slapped together in the right order that somehow fail to work together. The image of a dead body and a bag of money in the snow recalls films like Fargo and A Simple Plan. Unfortunately, the visual richness and narrative brilliance of those movies only make Blood and Money seem even more pallid. Scenes in which Jim talks with Debbie or meets a man at an AA meeting are meant to enrich his character, but they're so disconnected from everything else that they just feel like stepping stones. Other scenes attempt severe stretches of logic.

Eventually, there's no real reason to care about much of anything. Berenger -- an Oscar nominee for Platoon -- is a forceful actor, and he looks natural holding a rifle or tromping around in the great outdoors. But for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to be able to convey his character's deep anguish. Even stranger, despite the guilt and grief that Jim is supposed to have (his own drunk driving was responsible for his daughter's death), his actions don't really reflect this. He atones for his violence with more violence. Ultimately, Blood and Money is about as thrilling as its generic title.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Blood and Money's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it thrilling, or shocking? How much of it is based around guns? What effect does that have?

  • How is alcoholism depicted? How does the main character's drinking affect your perception of him?

  • Is smoking glamorized? Are there consequences for too much smoking? Why does that matter?

  • Is it OK that Jim takes the money from the bank robbers? Why or why not?

  • Why is Jim so intent on killing a deer? What are the pros and cons of hunting?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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