For wine dealer Alex Gates (Jack Nicholson) it hasn't been a vintage year-his business is on the rocks as is his marriage to Suzanne (Judy Davis). His stepson, Jason (Stephen Dorff), hates him, and his mistress, Gabrielle... more » (Jennifer Lopez), is asking for a commitment. In desperation, Alex conspires with his safecracker buddy, Victor (Michael Caine), to steal a million dollar diamond necklace from a wealthy client.« less
singhm2 | San Francisco, CA United States | 07/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautifully filmed picture with a rich plethora of twists and turns to keep you guessing. It repeatedly questions your own morality through the use of several flawed protagonist who also double as the films antiheroes. Bob Rafelson paints breathtakingly colorful imagery on the screen and changes the mood of the scene through the use of color to great affect. Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson and Stephen Dorff give stellar performaces. But perhaps the most amazing thing about this movie is the dark subtext that lies beneath each spoken line. There are times when you can feel your heart sink from the bitterness of the unspoken words. Outstanding. Five stars."
Wonderful characters in this film noir
singhm2 | 04/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not a diehard fan of film noir movies, but this one appeals to me, largely because of the multi-dimensional characters, written with more insight and compassion than usually found in this genre. Even the most villainous character has an understandable reason for all-consuming greed; the rest exude depths of decency and honor when you least expect it. That makes it all worth watching; these are people worth watching and even rooting for. The main cast is uniformly magnificent... what a treat to see Caine and Nicholson play off each other so expertly, and Judy Davis is intelligent and stellar as always. Stephen Dorff continues to impress me with his "diamond-in-the-rough" surliness and Jennifer Lopez does better work here than I've seen before, adding extra likeableness to a plot that, on the surface, threatens to be more hard-boiled than it actually turns out to be. Although there are plenty of violent scenes, there's also just the right amount of vulnerability mixed in with the toughness, enough self-awareness and kindness mixed in with the hatred and selfishness. Great movie, great surprise!"
B.Chatterjee | 10/22/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Excellent performances by the entire cast make this film well above average. Honestly, I don't know why this film didn't succeed at the box office. It has everything! Great acting by Nicholson, Caine, Dorff & Davis. Treachery, double crossing, action... you name it, it's there. Judy Davis' car accident was done very realistically. Stephen Dorff holds his own against the 2 legends Nicholson & Caine. Where did the film go wrong? I mean, why wasn't it a hit? Can't figure it out."
A nasty bit of Neo Noir
Cubist | United States | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson had a number of memorable collaborations in the 1970s (Five Easy Pieces and The King of Marvin Gardens) and worked once together during the 1980s (The Postman Always Rings Twice) and again during the 1990s (Man Trouble). Towards the end of `90s, they made a nasty little neo noir called Blood and Wine. Like Robert Towne, Rafelson is a survivor from the `70s still using his reputation from that decade to make modestly budgeted, character-driven movies - the kind that established his career in the first place.
This is Jack Nicholson in one of his less showier roles, as if hooking back up with his old friend brought the character actor back out in him. It's a meaty role that eschews the charismatic movie star roles that he does in films like As Good As It Gets (1997), for much darker material. Alex is driven by greed and it gradually consumes him and Nicholson does a good job of conveying the effect it has over his character.
Michael Caine is also excellent as a really nasty piece of work - an ex-convict lacking the social skills that Alex's calculating, smooth operator has. Victor is a chain-smoker even though he's one coughing fit away from keeling over on the spot. He is driven by his lack of time. He knows that he's dying and Caine does a great job of conveying his increasing desperation. He manages to all but steal the film away from Nicholson.
Caine and Nicholson make a fun team to watch as the former sleazes his way through Blood and Wine with his greasy black hair and dry sense of humour that plays well off of the latter's increasingly desperate schemer. The fun of watching this movie is to anticipate all of the plot twists and turns that revolve around a diamond necklace. Rafelson does not forget that ultimately this movie is driven by its characters and lets us get to know them and their motivations so that we are personally involved in their respective fates.
For a marginalized movie, the DVD for Blood and Wine is packed with a surprising number extras and with most of the major players (Rafelson, Nicholson, Caine and Dorff) contributing to featurettes and commentary tracks.
There is an audio commentary by director Bob Rafelson. He talks about working on a relatively low-budget movie (i.e. working fast on a short schedule) and how this forced him to come up with creative solutions to problems that arose. This is a relaxed track as the filmmaker takes us through his filmmaking process but with quite a few lulls although not too long in duration.
Also included are 11 scene specific commentaries by Nicholson, Caine, Dorff, producer Jeremy Thomas and film critic Stephen Farber. Everyone offers some pretty decent observations making one wish that Nicholson and Caine went the distance with a feature length commentary.
There are seven making of featurettes that focus mainly on characters and the craft of acting. Rafelson talks about how he and Caine put Victor together through wardrobe (an aspect of the filmmaking process that the director seems obsessed with). Nicholson and Rafelson talk about their long professional relationship and how, at times, it is volatile but only because they've been good friends for years.
There are eight deleted scenes introduced by Rafelson. These scenes mostly flesh out the relationships between the characters in more detail. For example, there is a nice scene between Jason and his mother where they talk about his real father.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer."
inframan | the lower depths | 07/18/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hey, granted, this is ain't for delicate sensibilities, but it sure is dynamite entertainment. It doesn't come much better. Sure, it's crass & classless & about greed & deception & lust, but so's the Bible (the first part, anyway). Get Shorty was a candy bar compared to this flick. Watching Nicholson, Caine & Davis together has to be (if you enjoy good acting) one of the pinnacles of film-viewing, particularly the repartees between the two male leads: near-Shakespearean. Rafelson sure makes this movie trip right along, always the sign in my book of a first class movie. And more than anything, what a pleasure to see Nicholson & Rafelson together again. 5 Easy Pieces & King of Marvin Gardens have to be two of the most brilliant films ever made."