Blood and Wine - * *

Blood and Wine is a murky attempt at film noir that has a couple of good twists, but overall it wastes its talent. Jack Nicholson stars as Alex Gates a Miami wine merchant who plots with an old friend, Victor (Michael Caine), to steal a diamond necklace from one of his clients. Victor is a safecracker, dying of lung disease, who wants one last big score so he can die in luxury. Others who get entangled in the scheme are Alex’s battered alcoholic wife (Judy Davis), and her son Jason (Stephen Dorff). Alex’s girlfriend, Gabrielle (Jennifer Lopez) is caught between Alex and her new boyfriend, Jason. It’s difficult to predict where director Bob Rafelson is going to take the plot next, and the characters (particularly Nicholson and Caine) are interesting in themselves. But there is a blandness throughout the production. It’s as if all involved knew this wasn’t going to be a great film, and decided to not give it their all. A few scenes here and there click, but most of them don’t. You never really care about any of the characters, because they give you no reason to care for them. Its fun at times when Nicholson and Caine start doing their scenery-chewing, but rather than involve you into the film, it makes you yearn for their better work. Wait til video, or longer, on this one.

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