Blood Father

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Blood Father
Blood Father.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean-François Richet
Produced by
  • Chris Briggs
  • Peter Craig
  • Pascal Caucheteux
  • Sebastien K. Lemercier
Screenplay by
Based on Blood Father
by Peter Craig
Music by Sven Faulconer
Cinematography Robert Gantz
Edited by Steven Rosenblum
Distributed by SND Films
Release date
  • 21 May 2016 (2016-05-21) (Cannes)
  • 31 August 2016 (2016-08-31) (France)
  • 26 August 2016 (2016-08-26) (United States)
  • 7 October 2016 (2016-10-07) (United Kingdom)
Running time
88 minutes[1]
Country France
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $4.8 million[2][3]

Blood Father is a 2016 English-language French action crime thriller film directed by Jean-François Richet, written by Peter Craig based on his novel of the same name, and starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy.

The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2016. The film was released on 12 August 2016 by Lionsgate Premiere.


Lydia (Erin Moriarty) buys bullets at a megastore for her boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) and his gang. After loading up, the gang goes to kill a tenant family who apparently stole money stashed in the walls of their rented house. After killing a tenant, Jonah ties up another and forces Lydia to kill her. However, Lydia accidentally shoots Jonah in the neck, apparently killing him, and escapes the crime scene. She contacts her estranged father John (Mel Gibson), an ex-convict and recovering alcoholic out on parole after serving seven years in prison. He picks up Lydia, takes her back to his trailer house, and learns that she is not only a drug addict but also an alcoholic. Some days pass by uneventfully, although Lydia receives death threat messages from the gang members.

One night, members of Jonah's gang come to John's house. After failing to force themselves in, they open fire at the house and ram it with their SUV. When John's neighbor and sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy) and other armed residents rush to intervene, the gang retreats. Reasoning that giving Lydia up to the police will put her in danger, John flees with her. Lydia tells John about her life after running away from home and about Jonah, who turns out to be a well-connected member of a Mexican drug cartel. The two rest at a motel, where Lydia learns that she and John have been linked to the tenants' deaths. They narrowly escape a sicario sent by the cartel.

John attempts to ask for a favor from his former mentor and friend, Preacher (Michael Parks), who makes a living by collecting and selling war memorabilia. Preacher agrees to help, but changes his mind after learning of the reward for turning in Lydia. John overpowers Preacher and his wife and escapes with Lydia on a 1997 Harley Softail. They are pursued by two of Preacher's men, who are both killed in the chase.

John travels to a prison where he meets Arturo, his former cellmate, to ask about Jonah's connections. He learns that Jonah himself stole the money from his cartel, blamed the tenants, and then murdered them to cover his tracks. At the motel alone, Lydia receives a call from Kirby, who tells her that she is in danger and advises her to head to a crowded public place like a theater. There Lydia is confronted by Jonah who had survived his injury and, along with his gang, abducts her. After leaving the prison, John calls Kirby, but Jonah answers the phone, reveals that he has captured Kirby, and kills him. John warns Jonah against harming Lydia, citing his knowledge of his connections. John offers up his life for his daughter, and Jonah arranges to meet at a secluded spot in the desert.

John goes back to Preacher's place and picks up a landmine and some grenades. He arrives at the meeting spot, and improvises a booby trap with his bike and the landmine. Jonah's men tie John up and put him in a car. As they prepare to leave, two of Jonah's men are killed by the trap. John kills the gang member inside the vehicle, but Jonah escapes. The sicario, having taken position at a vantage point, wounds John. Taking cover behind a car, John forces the sicario to get closer and the two fatally shoot each other. Jonah is arrested, incarcerated, and meets a visibly hostile prison gang led by Arturo, who smiles knowingly, implying that Jonah will be killed.

One year later, in a support group, Lydia reveals that she has been sober for a year and expresses gratitude to her father.



On 28 March 2014, Mel Gibson was in final talks to join the action thriller film Blood Father with Jean-François Richet as director and Peter Craig wrote the script based on his own novel of the same name, while Why Not Productions and Chris Briggs would be producing the film.[4] On 24 April, Erin Moriarty was set to co-star in the film as Gibson's character's daughter.[5] On 5 May, it was announced that Wild Bunch had come aboard to distribute the film worldwide.[6] On 6 June, Richard Cabral joined the film to play Joker, a tough enforcer for the Mexican Mafia.[7] On 14 June, William H. Macy tweeted that he would be starring alongside Gibson in the film.[8] On 17 June, Elisabeth Röhm signed on to star in the film as Gibson's estranged wife but her role was cut from the final film.[9]


Principal photography began on 5 June 2014, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[10] On 23 June, Gibson was spotted filming some arresting scenes at Albuquerque jail.[11] After a month of shooting, the production wrapped-up on 3 July 2014.[12]


In December 2014, Lionsgate acquired the US rights to the film.[13] Blood Father had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2016.[14] It was released in the United States on 12 August 2016.[15]

Critical response[edit]

Blood Father received positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 89% approval rating on based on reviews from 80 critics, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Blood Father meets every expectation a film fan could have for a latter-day Mel Gibson action thriller with its title -- and even, in some respects, handily exceeds them."[16] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]

Owen Glierberman of Variety Magazine wrote: "Blood Father is trash, but it does capture what an accomplished and winning actor Mel Gibson can be" and that the film "gives him the chance to show that he's still got it."[18]


  1. ^ "BLOOD FATHER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  2. ^ "Blood Father". The Numbers. 2016. 
  3. ^ "Blood Father". Box Office Mojo. 2016. 
  4. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (28 March 2014). "Mel Gibson In Talks To Team With ‘Mesrine’ Helmer In Thriller ‘Blood Father’". Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (24 April 2014). "Erin Moriarty to Co-Star With Mel Gibson in ‘Blood Father’". Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Keslassy, Elsa; Hopewell, John (5 May 2014). "Cannes: Wild Bunch Boards Mel Gibson Starrer ‘Blood Father’". Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Richard Cabral Books ‘Blood Father’". 5 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "William H. Macy Joins Mel Gibson in ‘Blood Father’". 14 June 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Sneider, Jeff (17 June 2014). "‘American Hustle's’ Elisabeth Rohm Joins Mel Gibson in ‘Blood Father’". Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Christine (5 June 2014). "Mel Gibson begins filming ‘Blood Father’ in Albuquerque, NM". Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mel Gibson is arrested in New Mexico... but it's just for his latest movie role". 23 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (9 December 2014). "Mel Gibson’s ‘Blood Father’ Being Acquired For U.S. By Lionsgate". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Jaugernauth, Kevin (22 April 2016). "Cannes Film Festival Adds Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' To Competition Lineup, Mel Gibson's 'Blood Father' And More". IndieWire. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Staff (26 April 2016). "40 Films to See This Summer". The Film Stage. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Blood Father (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "Blood Father". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  18. ^ Owen Gleiberman (21 May 2016). "Cannes Film Review: ‘Blood Father’". Variety. 

External links[edit]