“You look like a court-appointed attorney.
Your tie isn't even tied right.”
Yeah, that's what Link (Mel Gibson) looks like when he tries to
wear a suit. He looks like the
kind of guy who isn't used to wearing a suit.
But you have to consider the source:
a lifelong con, in prison. Link,
an ex-con himself, was making a visit to an old connection of his, a guy
who obviously still pulled some strings from his jail cell. Not that Link
hadn't tried to be rid of that life, and all that went with it.
When we first meet Link, he's giving testimony at an AA meeting.
He seems very earnest about the whole self-deprecatory routine,
about how he was the one who messed up his life.
He's not blaming anyone else. He's
accepting responsibility. He's
been sober for two years, and taking it “one day at a time.”
He's managed to get a place of his own; a double-wide trailer out
in the desert that doubles as a tattoo parlor, where's he's the tattoo
artist. In the same little
trailer park lives his sponsor, Kirby (William H. Macy), and a motley
collection of other guys who are all trying to pick up the pieces and
salvage what they can from the wreck they've made of their lives.
The biggest regret Link has is his estrangement from his wife and
daughter. Well, the ex-wife
thing doesn't bother him so much anymore.
She won't have anything to do with him, anyway.
But his missing daughter haunts him.
He doesn't know what's happened to her, and he fears the worst.
Then one day, out of the blue, he gets a desperate call from her.
She's in trouble, and needs money.
He tells her to stay put, he's coming right now.
And he drops what's he's doing and goes to rescue her.
Except it's not as easy as it sounds.
Lydia (Erin Moriarty) is a runaway and a druggie, and the company
she's been keeping lately is the worst possible:
drug dealers. From
powerful gangs. The type of
people who will not just corrupt her, they would never let her walk out of
“the life,” either. They'll
come after her.
Link tries to take her home and “dry her out,” though Kirby
tells him to take her to detox. Link
isn't going to let her out of his sight now that he's finally with her.
Link tries to call her mother, but she picks up the phone and
starts yelling at him to leave her alone, she's got a new life now, and
hangs up on him before he can even say anything.
So much for any help from that quarter.
Soon enough, the drug toughs come looking for Lydia.
Straight to his front door. And
Link barely escapes with his frightened daughter, with a little help from
his friends, and then goes seeking some assistance from an old compadre of
his that he figures still owes him, but there isn't always honor among
ex-cons. So Link puts on his
“Beast” mode, his protective father persona, and it will have to do.
Mel Gibson, despite his fall from grace in traditional Hollywood
films, still has the acting chops to make this character believable, and
veteran television actress Erin Moriarty is still young enough to play the
teenage runaway effectively. Sure,
it's gritty and violent, but not gratuitously; it's contextual with the
story, as is the pervasive street language.
“Blood Father” is short and straightforward, mostly grim, a
little touching, and altogether good theater.