Sometimes you just can’t face reality.
Sometimes you’ll do anything you can to avoid it, particularly when you have very tangible, dark reasons for doing so. Adam (Barry Ward) is a man drifting from place to place; from one cash-in-hand opportunity to the next; running from his past and the memory of his family, his father and particularly his father’s ultimately doomed agricultural business.
Adam submerges himself in a rather rudderless wander through what today would probably be termed as ‘Broken Britain.’ Marking time, he drifts from ghost-towns to soulless estates, venturing miles down interminable roads in the process.This nomadic amble is not so much a life choice as it is the lesser choice of two evils, but even in escaping his demons, his mind is frequently plagued by memories and reminders of the past.Conversations with strangers or past acquaintances en route are hollow and superficial. None of these people can truly be termed friends; he never seems to stick around long enough to cement any such relationships of worth.Yes, Adam is very much a man trying hard to forget what’s been and gone because he can’t and won’t deal with it and all the while, numbing his thoughts through a steady flow of alcohol and a willing set of equally ‘lost’ drinking partners.
His alcoholic state is fast alienating all those around him and the thought of reacquainting himself with family is only exacerbating the issue.
You’d be forgiven for giving this one a bit of a swerve, such is the picture being painted.
Blood Cells however, is so sublimely and artistically shot that what really should resemble a rather grey, gritty and depressing spectacle (and in another director’s hands, surely would have done), is lifted into the realms of a daydream; somehow magical, bordering on the ethereal even.
Whether this detracts from or enhances the gravitas of the subject matter is open to debate, but it certainly lends the film an other worldliness that makes for an at times, surreal, yet quite beautiful visual experience.
On one level, Blood Cells reminds me a little of David Thewlis’ excellent turn in ‘Naked’ but whereas that was a role that very much sucked the viewer in and demanded much empathy on his part, Blood Cells keeps the viewer at arms length, never to really be involved in Adam’s troubles.
Its visual appeal and the gritty premise upon which it’s based are one thing, but a seemingly largely improvised script (or lack thereof), coupled with the aloof nature of Jimmy Bull and Luke Seomore’s direction leaves Blood Cells feeling just a tad too art house for art house’s sake.
Nonetheless, it’s visually sumptuous and strangely mystical and that alone, I’d say, makes it worth a couple of hours of anyone’s time.