Living in a tightknit community where members routinely watch over and protect each other can be both a blessing and a burden, particularly to those who feel ostracized by their own family and are living under the constant pressure to live up to their relatives’ legacies. The affliction is heightened, and drives people to take drastic measures, when they inadvertently act out against everything they’ve been taught to believe in, and are forced to keep a secret as a result of their actions. This dilemma is explored in the new British crime thriller ‘Blood,’ which is now playing on VOD and in theaters. Actor Brian Cox plays the revered leader of an upstanding family of detectives in the film, whose beliefs are quickly challenged when his two sons are forced to cover their threatening discretion.
‘Blood’ follows Joe and Chrissie Fairburn (Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham), two Police Detectives under pressure to live up to the reputation of their father, Lenny (Cox). For years, the Fairburn patriarch ran the department and was a figurehead of the community.
Once a bully to both his colleagues and sons, Lenny is now suffering from the early stages of dementia and is drifting from the brothers. Joe and Crissie’s burning need to fill his shoes and do what they feel is expected of them, has terrible, unforeseen consequences. Soon they are investigating their own crime.
But the fear of being caught by their friend and colleague Robert (Mark Strong) is nothing to the fractures this causes in the brothers’ relationships and in their own minds. Chrissie, the younger brother, is consumed by his own conscience, while Joe becomes delusional and terrified of what this might do to his beloved family; a family that his father raised him to protect at all costs.
Cox, a native of Dundee, Scotland, generously took the time to talk about filming ‘Blood’ recently over the phone from Dublin. The actor said he enjoyed working with director Nick Murphy on the crime thriller in Wirral, England, a small town not far from where the filmmaker grew up. Shooting the story of the Fairburn brothers’ determination to cover up their crime as they continuously fail to live up to their father’s expectations, even as he succumbs to dementia, near where the director comes from “provided the story with an authentication of the negative consequences of family pressure,” the actor added. Even with the rising tension between Lenny and his sons, the film’s setting provided Joe and Chrissie with a strong familial sense of protection while they contemplated how to contend with the terrible, unforeseen consequences of their actions.
The actor added that he was genuinely able to build the strong bond between the former police department head and his son two sons as a result of the strong working relationship he formed with both Bettany and Graham on the set. While ‘Blood’ had a limited budget while filming, Cox said he was able to build a strong working relationship between his two co-stars, as they were able to have some rehearsal time together. While Lenny “was the top man, and was probably a bit of a bully,” as Cox described his character, the actor added he was still effortlessly able to bond with his co-stars on the set. “Paul has truly grown as an actor in the past 10 years, and it had a been a pleasure watching him develop and mature his abilities,” Cox further expressed of his co-star.
While ‘Blood’ is only Murphy’s second feature, after the 2011 horror thriller ‘The Awakening,’ Cox praised the filmmaker’s filming techniques and the story’s theme of isolation and living in a place where there’s no morality. Even though ‘Blood’ is an independent film, the actor felt the filmmaker “perfectly navigated balancing the story with effects that visually enhanced the Fairburn brothers’ crime, and their determination to protect their secret.”
Cox, who has previous experience working in thrillers throughout his acting career, once again wanted to return to the genre because he enjoyed the “suspenseful nature and the unpredictability of the lengths the characters would go to to protect their family and those threatening to destroy them.” The actor respected the strong will and indestructability of the Fairburn family.
The uniqueness of the relationships between the father and his sons and the two brothers drew the attention of movie audiences after ‘Blood’ premiered during the London Film Festival this past fall. While Cox said he wasn’t able to attend any of the screenings of the crime thriller at the festival, some audiences there responded to the Fairburn family’s struggle to cope with the mistakes they made, and the ever-changing balance in family relationships.
Cox concluded by saying that while the Fairburn family is continuously engaged in brutal actions in their professional and personal lives, their pain is still very humanizing. Their actions are grounded in motivations that audiences can relate to, even though their exploits are pushed to the limit, both emotionally and legally.