Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Forgotten (or Overlooked) Film Tuesday: EVIDENCE OF BLOOD


Tuesday is Forgotten (or Overlooked) Film day - the weekly meme hosted by Todd Mason at his blog, Sweet Freedom. So don't forget to check in at Todd's to see what films, television or other audio/visuals other bloggers are highlighting today. We're an eclectic bunch.

David Strathairn

My entry is EVIDENCE OF BLOOD 1998, an above average thriller (made for television) directed by Andrew Mondshein and starring David Strathairn and Mary McDonnell, an actress with one of the most elegantly expressive faces in films. But because she's got a couple of wrinkles, she doesn't work as much any more. Our loss. (Unfortunately, I believe she has since  succumbed to the temptation of face configuration and doesn't look nearly as wonderful or interesting as she did without it. Hollywood's obeisance to the fountain of youth has a helluva lot to answer for with so many beautiful woman ruining their looks with ill-advised surgery. Notice that Strathairn's wrinkles aren't held against him.)


I discovered this film (based on a book by Thomas H. Cook) on Netflix, read a couple of the quicky reviews (that's about all I allow myself when it comes to online reviewing of ANYTHING except books, shoes and appliances) and decided that since I like David Strathairn as well as Mary McDonnell, I might as well take a look.

I'm glad I did.

Strathairn plays Jackson Kinley, a Pulitzer Prize winning true crime author bothered by nightmares not eased by his having had to witness the execution (electric chair) of a serial killer about whom he'd written a best seller. The killer's taunts haunt Kinley as he prepares to go home to small town Georgia following the death of his father, the sheriff (possibly retired or about to, can't remember). At any rate, once back in the stifling small town atmosphere, a hazy, mysterious event from his troubled childhood enters his nightmares and triggers the asthma Kinley has suffered from since he was a boy.

In the not-so-friendly town where everyone knows everyone else's business, Kinley can't help but become involved (at first peripherally) with the forty year old murder of a young woman - something his father had apparently been re-investigating before his death.

Though the case was supposedly solved and the killer long ago caught and dealt with, it is quickly apparent that an innocent man was executed. (No spoiler here, this is made rather clear almost from the beginning.)


Once Kinley meets up with his father's girl friend Dora (Mary McDonnell) who, coincidentally, is the daughter of the man executed for the long ago crime, he is almost immediately smitten with her (really the only false note in the story - a minor quibble) and she with him. Dora, more than anyone else believes that an injustice was committed years before - on the flimsiest of evidence, really, she can't believe her father  capable of murder. Unfortunately for Kinley and Dora, very few in town are interested in the ugly truth coming to light. Some secrets are better left dead and buried.


As the plot thickens and Kinley's nightmare continues to nag at him, a sinister conspiracy begins to reveal itself. It's obvious that he is on the brink of remembering something dreadful having to do with the original murder - something he has blocked from his memory.


The truth of it all, when it comes, is told in exciting, rapid-paced flashback which works very well. The only problem is that the ending - the final scene - seems a little abrupt. I had to sit and think for a few minutes to reconstruct what had happened for my own satisfaction - I wish there'd been a few more minutes of film.

Ah, these archaic, sleepy Southern towns, so full of ancient secrets just waiting to be unearthed.


Much of the story is actually an interior one as Jackson Kinley (a rather interesting guy) acts to solve the mystery of his own past and in doing so, discovers the truth about Dora's as well.

A terrific thriller which, fortunately, is currently available on Neftlix streaming.

26 comments:

  1. That limitation doesn't apply to fellow bloggers who run a bit long in their assessments, I hope!

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  2. About plastic surgery, and not hiring normal actresses of all ages....GHASTLY and so unfair and uninteresting. I agree yvette. Britain's actresses are allowed to age, and we are all the richer for it. Thanks for the tip. quirkfarms

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  3. I know actresses need to work and are probably driven to plastic surgery by insecurity and worry, but once an actress starts down that road, her face will trend to the same type as all the others plastic surgery. (The same is true for men--Bob Costas and Bruce Jenner have both had so much work done, they resemble each other.) it's sad to see talented actresses, even younger ones like Ashley Judd, succumbing to the sameness. No one will ever convince me that the way Cher or Joan Rivers look now is in any way better than the way they'd look if they'd allowed themselves to age naturally.

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  4. Monsieur Unknown: Imagine if Helen Mirren had turned that gorgeous face into another plastic mask. Or Judy Dench.

    It doesn't bear thinking about.

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  5. I'm with you, Deb. Most of these actresses tend to look frightening rather than attractive once they go under the knife. It's like they all go to the same surgeon.

    Meg Ryan has practically ruined her career along with her face.

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  6. "I discovered this film (based on a book by Thomas H. Cook) on Netflix, read a couple of the quicky reviews (that's about all I allow myself when it comes to online reviewing of ANYTHING except shoes and appliances)"...

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  7. Yes, another vote for forgoing the plastic surgery, btw...

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  8. Another thriller to watch, so good to add this to my movie list.

    I also like these two actors and hope my library has the films.

    Boo to plastic surgery: Meg Ryan and Ashley Judd had awful work done.

    However, Susan Sarandon, whom I just saw on TV and Meryl Streep always look great, so they must go to better plastic surgeons, and not do it on the cheap. They must do this as neither have the usual signs of aging.

    FYI: Don't know if you saw it but Kittling Books has a write-up about Jasper Fforde visiting The Poisond Pen, and then a video, which had me howling with laughter. What a bright and hilarious guy. Everyone must see this. What a mind!

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  9. The Hollywood obsession with youth (or anyway, its appearance on the surface) is as commercially understandably as it is infuriating. I didn;t know she had gone under the knife - shame, I thought she was great in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. I laughed out loud when watching Strathairn in his new show ALPHAS as he went from a pilot, in which he has a grey beard and thinning hair, to looking about 20 years younger courtesy of a shave and a toupee ... Never seen this one Yvette but thanks for the prompt - will seek it out!

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  10. I changed the comment to include books, Todd. Though of course I considered that a given. :)

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  11. Kathy thanks for the tip about Jasper. I love the man. I love his books.

    I think you'll enjoy EVIDENCE OF BLOOD. Good film for Halloween viewing. In fact, it's going on my list. Only because of the sinister vibe. I love sinister vibe.

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  12. Sergio I'd love to know what you think of this film if and when you watch it. It was a surprise to me.

    Yeah, plastic surgery. A scourge.

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  13. Kathy I meant to add that, since we can't tell, Streep and Sarandon have probably only had minor nips and tucks. I don't have anything against tucking up turkey gobbles so you photograph better. It's economically practical.

    BUT, I do draw the line and manufacturing a new face with no wrinkles.

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  14. Yes, no new faces sans wrinkles.

    But I've seen Sarandon and Streep on TV recently and they photograph perfectly so they must have certain work done -- or they wouldn't still get major movie roles.

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  15. Well, and films and tv, too...music tomorrow (the Monthly Underappreciated Music links)...

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  16. Yvette, I hadn't heard of this film; in fact, I hadn't even heard of the lead actors before. I'd like to see this movie even if the ending didn't live up to your expectation. It seems like a good suspense film to watch.

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  17. Kathy, sometimes it's in the bones. Sometimes it's just the luck of the draw. But I suspect you are right. They've probably have some nips and tucks.

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  18. Prashant, let us know what you think if you see it. I didn't hate the ending, I just thought it should have had a few more moments of film. :)

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  19. Todd, I got some underappreciated music for you.

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  20. It is now in my netflix que! Thanks

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  21. You're welcome Peggy Ann. Hope you like it.

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  22. Just saw this film. It was really good! Thanks for the review.

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  23. I am watching this film--as I type--on Netflix, and thought to pause and look-up reviews: The setting and contradictory accents are confusing to me, and wanted to see if anyone else saw the same. I find it interesting that most comments are targeted at the author's aside rather than the movie!
    Back to the film: Yes, yes..Strathairn and McDonnell brood and smoke exquisitely--and the plot weaves well. But how is it that the citizens of a town set in the Pacific Northwest are strapped with such hokey Southern accents? Very distracting.

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    1. Now that you mention it, Cynthia. I don't remember what I felt about the accents. I probably had forgotten that they were supposed to be in the Pacific Northwest. Strange. Thanks for pointing that out. I might just take another look.

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    2. Actually, the story is set in rural Georgia, Cynthia. I just checked my own review. What am I missing here?

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