Tag Archives: Nicholson

Blood and Wine

20 Mar

R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 02/20/1997, B: Tom Meek,



Sterile ‘sequel’

Rafelson’s Blood & Wine runs thin

by Tom Meek

BLOOD & WINE. Directed by Bob Rafelson. Written by Nick Villiers and Alison Cross, based on a story by Rafelson and Villiers. With Jack Nicholson, Judy Davis, Michael Caine, Stephen Dorff, and Jennifer Lopez. At the Nickelodeon, the Harvard Square, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson mesmerized audiences with Five Easy Pieces in 1970; two years later they struck again with the bitter, dark The King of Marvin GardensPieces featured Nicholson as the kind of self-concerned, sardonic antihero that was so prevalent at the time (The GraduateEasy Rider). In Gardens, Rafelson took a chance and cast him as the introverted, intellectual brother opposite Bruce Dern’s pie-in-the-sky shyster — a gonzo role that seemed tailor-made for Nicholson’s on-screen persona. Now, some 25 years later, Rafelson and Nicholson have reunited to conclude an unofficial trilogy that journeys through the veins of dysfunctional bonds.

For all that Blood & Wine is a complex and engaging drama, it feels contrived.Pieces and Gardens flowed naturally; here Rafelson seems to struggle with the standards of ’90 sensationalism. Nicholson’s Alex Gates, a Miami-based wine merchant, is a one-dimensional character: he’s on the brink of financial ruin, his marriage is in shambles, but he continues to indulge in a life beyond his means with a sporty BMW and a sultry mistress.  Continue reading