Blood Father (2016)

Blood Father (2016)

Despite the predictable climaxes, Blood Father is a well-made drama film with great acting performances from Gibson and Moriarty and well-filmed action sequences.


In Blood Father, Lydia (Erin Moriarty) is a runaway, who has been missing for over three years now. She works with a gang, led by her boyfriend Jonah Pincerna (Diego Luna). After a mishap, Lydia runs and seeks the shelter of her father John (Mel Gibson). John abstains from alcohol, attends AA meetings, and keeps in contact with his friend/mentor Kirby (William H. Macy). He works as a tattoo artist, inking tattoos for people in his RV. One day, John receives a call from Lydia, asking for his help. Without hesitation, he picks her up and brings her to his home. Upon learning about her unfortunate circumstances and her drug/alcohol problems, John starts to think about his troubled past.


One night, members of the gang arrive at John’s home and threaten him. An altercation happens, which ends with John and Lydia going on the run and hiding from the criminals. As John spends more time with Lydia, more of his personal demons arise. Will John be able to protect his daughter and overcome the personal demons he tried so hard to bury?

Written by Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff and directed by Jean-Francois Richet, Blood Father is an engaging drama/thriller with intense action scenes. Cinematographer Robert Gantz and Richet craft a visually-appealing film. Many of the scenes in Blood Father were captured in wide-angle shots to show many of the fine details in the scene. Also, Richet purposely added a brownish hue to the final cut, which helps immerse viewers into the western setting of the film. With this effect added in, viewers will have no problem remaining engaged by the scenery displayed onscreen.

Story-wise, writers Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff succeed on establishing an authentic relationship between John and Lydia, but falter when delivering a unique film. The writers give viewers backstories of Lydia and John to understand why the characters do and say the things they do. For example, John (played expertly by Gibson) yells at himself a lot whenever something unfortunate happens. Since John is an ex-con, he knows that many of his actions will lead to him going back to prison. So, his repetitive shouts reflect how he feels inside and his fear of being incarcerated again. Lydia—portrayed skillfully by Erin Moriarty—tries to conceal her violent past to protect John. She also threatens to kill herself, so the gang members will stop coming after her and hurting people in the process. Her actions are believable, and viewers will easily sympathize with her. The relationship she shares with John is well-developed. Many of their conversations begin with John being brutally honest with her. But, as time passes on, John learns to say the right things to her in the exact moments. This dynamic relationship between the two keeps the movie flowing and doesn’t allow the film to drag.

The one negative is that some of the plot elements are predictable, which may leave viewers disappointed, especially the ones who are expecting something original, instead of cliché. Overall, John and Lydia’s relationship is the driving force of Blood Father, and thanks to the performances of Gibson and Moriarty, the characters create excitement every minute they’re onscreen.


Gibson gives his most nuanced performance in years. As John Link, Gibson goes from being calm to explosive all in one scene. Gibson has the hard task of portraying an explosive, angry curmudgeon who audiences can sympathize with. With much skill, Gibson succeeds on playing John as crazy, but also somewhat likable.


Erin Moriarty, as Lydia, gives a good performance. She steps up to the plate and holds her own alongside Gibson. This role calls for Moriarty to portray Lydia as a complex young girl with suicidal tendencies. By using subtle facial expressions, she conveys all the damaged facets of Lydia’s character as well as her optimistic sides. To a point, viewers may think Lydia is more damaged than John. But that, of course, is only possible by Moriarty’s great performance in the role.

Other supporting actors William H. Macy, Diego Luna, and Michael Parks do well in the parts they are given. The actors inhabit and make the roles their own. William H. Macy, as John’s sponsor, supports his friend and only wants the best for him. Macy, who has had much acting experience, plays the character as a sympathetic person who understands what John is going through. Luna depicts Jonah as a violent and soft-spoken guy. In his scenes, he creates suspense by his subtle, deadly stares. Parks plays Preacher, who is an old friend who knew John from his past. Parks manages to keep viewers entranced with every word by drawing them in with his eyes. This skill reflects how talented Parks is as a character actor. With the combination of supporting performances and main performances, Blood Father is a well-acted film filled with engaging scenes.

Despite the predictable climaxes, Blood Father is a well-made drama film with great acting performances from Gibson and Moriarty and well-filmed action sequences.


Rating: 4.2 out of 5

Images from:

  1. First Blood Father image: Film Mafia/Movieland
  2. Second Blood Father image: IMDB
  3. Third Blood Father image: Youtube
  4. Fourth Blood Father image: Cult Projections






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