Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 34
  2. Negative: 2 out of 34
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  1. Certainly merits attention, although it shouldn't be mistaken for one of Eastwood's greatest works.
  2. 38
    If you put the word Tired first, it would perfectly describe the movie.
  3. 75
    Eastwood risks embarrassment flirting with material this naked in its mawkishness, then jumps right in. He seems to want the world to know: Inside the 72-year-old body of this icon of virility beats the heart of a Mexican woman.
  4. Eastwood has two knacks as a director/producer: He casts smaller roles well, as he did here, and he can establish an atmospheric mood, often an ominous one. But he hasn't much visual style -- for an action star.
  5. Ultimately just another Dirty Harry opus.
  6. 88
    The strength of the picture, directed by Eastwood, is that it has three intersecting story arcs: The investigation, the health issues, and the relationship that builds, step by step.
  7. A violent, improbable movie done in tersely elegant style, and it may be the last action movie for one of the cinema's great action stars, Clint Eastwood.
  8. As director of the movie, Eastwood takes a conservative approach, with few of the imaginative touches that have made some of his films – "Bird," "The Eiger Sanction" – so memorable.
  9. Eastwood is now playing a man whose will is stronger than his body, and it's that tension -- between anger and frailty, steel and decay -- that powers the movie.
  10. 60
    Almost nothing comes as a surprise in this stately old fogy of a movie. The pacing is glacial, the screenplay is stiff as a board, and things heat up only in the movie's final scenes.
  11. There's a certain pleasure in seeing a thriller that's almost a relic of a bygone era. There's nothing flashy about Blood Work, no in-your-face nihilism, no hot young actors you'd know from the WB network if you ever watched it.
  12. 63
    There's also something to be said for a movie that's content with telling a simple yarn, and telling it well.
  13. 70
    The film still delivers the goods, in part because of Eastwood's iconic presence and in part because of Daniels' scene-stealing work in what could have been a hokey role.
  14. Connelly's better-than-routine potboiler has a high-concept premise built for the movies, and it's the first of the former L.A. Times reporter's 11 crime novels to make the journey from bookshelf to big screen.
  15. Eastwood's earnestness has its own stoic charm. There's something nutty but also heroic in how he plays this macho-man-with-the-heart-of-a-woman premise with a straight face.
  16. 63
    It's an intriguing setup, filled with colorful characters, lots of humor and well-developed scenes.
  17. Moves along the way its leading man walks along - steady and sure.
  18. 67
    There are mysteries and twists in Blood Work, but its real work isn't ratiocination but healing and connection. Outwardly it's a detective story; really it's a tale of the heart.
  19. 50
    A major misstep and a disappointment of significant proportions. It may not be a failure for Eastwood the actor, but it's a big one for Eastwood the director.
  20. 70
    As much as Eastwood ever expresses pleasure about anything, you sense a flicker of gratification that he can work with actors who can hold their own against him. Lifford does it without breaking a sweat. Howard Hawks would have loved her.
  21. Has the three elements we've come to expect from Eastwood: the steady pace, the shadowy cinematography and, of course, the presence of the Big Guy.
  22. It lets down in the last act and is probably too mired in serial-murderer-movie formulaics to garner Oscar attention. But it's his tightest, best film since "Unforgiven."
  23. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    What's left is a wan and impersonal whodunnit -- a movie that never gets into your blood.
  24. 50
    Eastwood's down-the-middle police procedural Blood Work ranks as his least ambitious work in a decade, anonymous save for his iconic screen presence and a tasteful selection of jazz on the soundtrack.
  25. At his best, Clint directed as he acted -- sparely, laconically, but concisely, with a clean precision. There are flashes of that trademark style early on, but it soon degenerates badly.
  26. A wry exercise in geriatric uplift.
  27. 80
    The movie is a methodical and entirely absorbing thriller, featuring a complicated plot (Brian Helgeland adapted the Michael Connelly novel) in which clues are carefully planted, and understanding slowly gathers in the mind of the hero. [19 & 26 August 2002, p. 174]
  28. 40
    It's merely glum when it should be bracingly grim.
  29. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Usually, I'm as slow as the pacing of a movie in figuring out who's done it. If you can't solve this mystery with an hour to go (as I did), better call for a transfusion so a better type of blood will start flowing to your brain.
  30. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The 72-year-old star, who is centerscreen throughout, makes this rather far-fetched yarn go down much more easily than it otherwise might have.
  31. 80
    A bracingly no-nonsense, highly professional policier—as proudly old-fashioned as its curmudgeon hero.
  32. Reviewed by: Nancy deWolf Smith
    In the end, though, it's all about seeing Clint Eastwood; it always was about Clint and always will be. To his fans, he's cool in every role (except, possibly, for that movie with the monkey). He can't help it. We can't help watching.
  33. 80
    Eastwood's instinct for creating efficient, adult, mainstream entertainment is virtually unerring. He's still a class act, not to mention craggy, suave, laconic and very, very cool.
  34. It's always nice to see Clint, and especially nice to see him play someone whose humanity -- no, whose mortality -- is all too apparent.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 19
  2. Negative: 10 out of 19
  1. Nov 12, 2013
    Blood Work bleeds with discomfort.
    A very interesting concept that doesn't unlock much depth. Eastwood directs and acts in this somewhat
    Blood Work bleeds with discomfort.
    A very interesting concept that doesn't unlock much depth. Eastwood directs and acts in this somewhat ironic train wreck that would otherwise be successful if not contaminated with poor lines and an underhanded script that feels copy and pasted together.
    Full Review »
  2. LuisL.
    Apr 16, 2006
    blood work is a masterpiece.clint eastwood, jeff daniels, angelica huston are suberb. blood work is one of the best films of all times.
  3. [Anonymous]
    Sep 5, 2005
    Your typical, decent thriller. Eastwood is at his usual greatness, but sometimes the thriller feels unengaging.