In an interesting way we are presented with the idea that blood sacrifice is sometimes necessary for human survival. In Christian doctrine Jesus sacrifices his life's blood on the cross so that others might live. In Blood Works a woman permits the harvesting of her heart upon her death so that another person may continue to live.
Review by David Bruce


This page was created on August 13, 2002
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

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Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland
Novel by Michael Connelly

Clint Eastwood .... Terry McCaleb
Jeff Daniels .... Buddy Noone
Anjelica Huston .... Dr. Bonnie Fox
Wanda De Jesus .... Graciella Rivers
Tina Lifford .... Jaye Winston
Paul Rodriguez .... Detective Ronaldo Arrango
Dylan Walsh .... Detective John Waller
Mason Lucero .... Raymond
Gerry Becker .... Mr. Toliver
Rick Hoffman .... James Lockridge
Alix Koromzay .... Mrs. Cordell
Dina Eastwood .... Reporter #1
Beverly Leech .... Juliette Loveland
June Kyoko Lu .... Mrs. Kang
Chao Li Chi .... Mr. Kang
Glenn Morshower .... Captain
Robert Harvey .... Restaurant Manager
Mark Thomason .... James Cordell
Maria Quiban .... Gloria Torres
Brent Hinkley .... Cab Driver
Natalia Ongaro .... Receptionist
Amanda Carlin .... Office Manager
Ted Rooney .... Forensics Officer #1
P.J. Byrne .... Forensics Officer #2
Sam Jaeger .... Deputy
Craig Hosking .... Helicopter Pilot
James W. Gavin .... Helicopter Pilot

Produced by
Clint Eastwood .... producer
Judie Hoyt .... co-producer
Robert Lorenz .... executive producer

Original music by Lennie Niehaus
Cinematography by Tom Stern
Film Editing by Joel Cox

MPAA: Rated R for violence and language.
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG

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Book InfoBlood Work
by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly has been attracting fans by the droves with his hard-boiled, edgy thrillers. A former crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Connelly combines a poet's ear for language with a deep understanding of the criminal mind to create dark, dramatic stories that raise the thriller genre to a new level.

In Blood Work, Connelly introduces a new character, Terry McCaleb, who was a top man at the FBI until a heart ailment forced his early retirement. Now he lives a quiet life, nursing his new heart and restoring the boat on which he lives in Los Angeles Harbor. Although he isn't looking for any excitement, when Graciela Rivers asks him to investigate her sister Gloria's death, her story hooks him immediately: the new heart beating in McCaleb's chest is Gloria's.

As McCaleb investigates the evidence in the case, the suspected randomness of the crime gives way to an unsettling suspicion of a twisted intelligence behind the murder. Soon McCaleb finds himself on the trail of a killer more horrifying than anything he ever encountered before.


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The key to catching a killer is only a heartbeat away.
Click to enlargeSomeone’s got Terry McCaleb’s number. A veteran FBI profiler, McCaleb (CLINT EASTWOOD) is unrelenting in his pursuit of justice and unequalled in his success at tracking and catching murderers.

But as he closes in on his latest adversary – a psychopath dubbed “The Code Killer” by the media – McCaleb is felled by a massive heart attack and forced into early retirement.

Two years later, a beautiful stranger (WANDA De JESÚS) reveals a secret that compels McCaleb to re-examine his recovery: his life was saved by someone else’s death – the victim of a murder that remains unsolved.

Against the advice of his cardiologist (ANJELICA HUSTON) and with the help of an eager neighbor (JEFF DANIELS), McCaleb literally puts his life on the line to track down a murderer who has forced him to take this case personally.

He’s a heartbeat away from catching the killer.

Web Master,
Click to enlargeClint Eastwood's films are always a pleasure. He means so much to our culture. He's a living icon. He truly helped to mold the postmodern film world. He was born on the 31st of May 1930, to the World War 2 generation, but he is a member of the Baby Boom generation by adoption.

He was a revolutionary filmmaker within the revolutionary times of the late '60s making such films as, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Click to enlargeThese films were revolutionary for many reasons. One being Eastwood's insistence on brevity. He would tear pages of dialog out of the scripts. He reduced parts down to one or two short sentences. Who can forget such lines as "Go ahead, make my day" or "Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?" Another reason is how these films deal not so much with the issues of absolute good and evil, as with the ground in between the two. His Dirty Harry character, for example, was ambiguously good, and yet strongly opposed to evil. His stories played on our struggles with moral ambiguities and yet at the same time on our sense of absolute good and evil.

I want to return to this theme of Eastwood's creativity in a bit.

What is interesting is that those revolutionary films are now considered mainstream. His then unique method has become normative. His life's journey is symbolic of this same transition, from being a maverick spaghetti western filmmaker in Italy to being partial owner of the Pebbles Beach Golf Country Club in Monterey, California.

Similarly, in his film Blood Work Eastwood retires from a high action FBI agent to a small houseboat peacefully floating peacefully in the dock. His retirement is due to a heart transplant. Eastwood is one Hollywood actor that is not afraid to play his age. Unbelievably, he was over 70 years old when this film was released.

Click to enlargeBLOOD ISSUES
The film explores the various meanings of blood. Just before Clint Eastwood's transplant in the film, we see a large neon cross of Jesus, twice. This gives significance to his new heart as a symbol of new life --being born-again.

In Jewish Scriptures, we read that the "life is in the blood." This film underscores the necessity of blood transfusions so that certain individuals can continue to live.

In an interesting way we are presented with the idea that blood sacrifice is sometimes necessary for human survival. In Christian doctrine Jesus sacrifices his life's blood on the cross so that others might live. In Blood Works a woman permits the harvesting of her heart upon her death so that another person may continue to live.

Eastwood has been criticized for being overly macho. He's been unfairly criticized as being anti-woman. However, portraying a macho character does not equate to being anti-woman. Eastwood films are very pro-woman. All of Eastwood's films from the 1980's forward present women on equal footing with their male counterparts. And in this film women hold high occupational positions. Click to enlargeThere is a woman heart surgeon, for example, brilliantly played by Angelica Huston. There is a woman storeowner, and the best police investigator is a woman. Eastwood is very much at home in a liberated world where women have, or at least should have, equal rights. In the Scriptures, the apostle Paul speaks of the ideal situation where "there is neither Jew or Gentile, male nor female, bond or free" and all are at one with each other through Jesus Christ.

It has been said that creativity is an act of rebellion. It certainly is. And that definition certainly fits Clint Eastwood. In her book The Creative Mind researcher Margaret Boden writes that creativity,

"...involves not only a passionate interest but self-confidence too. A person needs a healthy self-respect to pursue novel ideas, and to make mistakes, despite criticism from others. Self-doubts may be there, but it cannot always win the day. Breaking generally accepted rules, were even stretching them, takes confidence. Continuing to do so, in the face of skepticism and scorn takes even more."

And this is Eastwood.

Eastwood was a deconstructionist in the postmodern era. And now he gives us a model of creativity for the creative era. He not only helped transition us from the modern to the postmodern era, but he now helps transition us from postmodern to the creative age.Click to enlarge

He gives us a model of being for the new age of creativity into which we enter.

And on a personal level he models how to age with grace. His performance in Blood Work is stunning.

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