Review: Quirky Cusack sinks bumbling ‘Blood Money’

Three friends stumble across a stash of cash in the woods in this idiotic noir that doesn’t deserve your money

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Three college-age friends on a camping trip discover a stash of cash floating in a river and the rest writes itself in the contrived, misdirected and all-too-predictable “Blood Money.”

Those friends are Victor (“Boyhood’s” Ellar Coltrane), Jeff (Jacob Artist) and Lynn (Willa Fitzgerald). Victor and Lynn once had a fling, but Lynn is now seeing Jeff, a fact they hide from Victor for no reason other than script advancement.

Cut to Miller (John Cusack, looking like he’s been sleeping in his “High Fidelity” clothes since “High Fidelity”), a white-collar criminal who embezzled $8 million in cash. He stages a plane crash to fake his death, but gets separated from his loot when he parachutes out.

That loot — $8 million, stuffed into four duffel bags — washes ashore where Lynn finds it while jogging one morning after fighting with her pals. Almost immediately (and out of the blue), she becomes a money-hungry monster willing to do whatever she has to do — and cross whomever she has to cross — to make off with the money.

This is a classic noir set-up, but nothing about its execution works, not Lynn’s complete 180-degree character turn into Gollum and definitely not Cusack’s bumbling criminal, who fires his gun and then immediately says, “I’m sorry.” Cusack’s character — who at one point gets in a fight with a tree — is riddled with Cusack-ian quirks, all of which make him seem like a cool uncle, not a criminal menace, which is what this story needs to work.

By the time the climactic showdown — needlessly teased in the film’s opening — arrives, any tension once present has long since deflated. Like a bag of money in the woods, you should leave this movie alone.

(313) 222-2284


‘Blood Money’


Rated R for language throughout including sexual references, and for some violence

Running time: 89 minutes