Australasian Cinema > films >
Bad Blood (Mike Newell, 1981) wr. Andrew Brown, Howard Willis (from his novel Manhunt); Jack Thompson, Carol Burns; drama; VHS; NZ; 113 min.
Bad Blood has the most outstanding, extraordinary performance I’ve ever seen in a movie. I refer to Jack Thompson’s work in this film. Nobody has ever done anything better.
Bad Blood, after a strong first half, thanks to the outstanding script by Andrew Brown, does lose a little pace in the second half. Once Stan has gone postal and headed bush the movie sort of meanders along towards a preordained conclusion. We have the notion that Stan is becoming a folk hero in some circles, and perhaps the whole major manhunt is due to this, but the idea is voiced by minor characters and never receives the prominence that it did in Ned Kelly. I'm not saying that Stan Graham has the same iconic status in New Zealand that Ned Kelly does in Australia, but I am saying that Newell sort of loses his way with the concept and simply leaves it floating. There's a sort of inevitable resolution to Bad Blood and the Director does nothing to add to that or to take a different viewpoint to the history books. We are left watching almost a dramatic re-enactment rather than a movie that had promised quite a lot in the tucker box. Newell's one moment of absolute brilliance with the final half of the movie is the cathartic nature of the burning down of the Graham farmhouse; the locals needed their own closure and they get it on in a night of flame and music. ScaryMinds.
Garry Gillard | New: 11 October, 2012 | Now: 17 September, 2020