Movies with snowy scenes don’t have to do much to captivate me. Arctic and Snowpiercer come to mind. There’s something about the way these films make me feel glad to be watching and not out in the snow with the chilly characters. So I settle down and feel comfortable viewing what’s happening on screen. Blood and Money, a thriller starring Tom Berenger, is the latest movie to win me over with its snowy location. Practically every sequence shows lots of snow. So I want to thank filmmaker John Barr, who wrote, directed and served as cinematographer for this fine offering, which happens to be his first full-length movie.
But it’s not only the snow that got to me in Blood and Money. Tom Berenger (The Big Chill) gives a special lived-in performance as Jim Reed, a retired U.S. Marine who feels guilty about a car accident that caused his daughter’s death. This excellent actor endows Jim with a world-weary persona that moved me in every scene. I felt sorry for Jim as he trudged through the snow even though he was hunting deer. (Bambi still lives strong in my memory.)
Early on, we see that Jim suffers from a serious ailment. He spits up blood, has trouble catching his breath, and he’s not physically agile. Berenger makes us believe in this character – and that’s why we care about him. When he discovers a bag full of money and a dead body, we worry about how this will impact his life. And we intensely follow his actions – good or bad -- until the end.
Feel bitter cold; see bright white snow.
Watch hunter shoot a silent doe.
Later when he aims at a buck,
it starts his run of sheer bad luck.
Tom Berenger fits this lead part,
a former drunk with broken heart.
Heist money plays a major role
as a test for his saddened soul.
“Blood and Money” intrigues us so.
What hunter does we want to know.
A surprise ending works out well.
But added twist, I will not tell.
Crisp images of Northern Maine enhance the piercing nature of Blood and Money. No matter what time of day, we can see Jim Reed. Plus, the sometimes eerie background soundtrack adds to the movie’s suspense. And lovely Kristen Hager (The Turkey Bowl) gives a beautiful performance as a sympathetic waitress with problems of her own,
The moral of this snowy thriller? Don’t mess with a retired Marine regardless of his age or health issues.
(Released by Screen Media Films. Not rated by MPAA.)