Blood for Dust / The Avenue (2024)

Blood for Dust (Movie Review)

Directed by Rod Blackhurst (Here Alone 2016, John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise 2021), who reunites with Scriptwriter David Ebeltoft (Here Alone 2016, Root Letter 2022), Blood for Dust is a thriller that demonstrates how desperate times can call for desperate measures with terrible consequences.

In select theaters and out digitally April 19, 2024 through The Avenue, the film follows Cliff (Scoot McNairy: Gone Girl 2014, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood 2019), a travelling salesperson who is struggling to make ends meet and provide for his family. One night he runs into old colleague Ricky (Kit Harington: The Death & Life of John F. Donovan 2018, Eternals 2021) who offers Cliff a chance to make some much needed money. Ricky thinks Cliff would make a perfect drug runner, no one would suspect everyday man Cliff who always sticks to the same route and routine.

Blood for Dust movie
Blood for Dust / The Avenue (2024)

Although Ricky is a notoriously unreliable figure and Cliff has no interest in getting involved in criminal activity, he feels like he has little choice and so finds himself teamed up with Ricky and working for a cartel leader (Josh Lucas: American Psycho 2000, Ford v Ferrari 2019). However, as Cliff suspected, Ricky is a wild card who cannot be trusted. After what should have been a simple exchange turns into a bloodbath, due to Ricky deciding to make an ill-advised play for territory, Cliff finds himself on the run and fighting to stay alive.

A Crime Thriller with noir elements, Blood for Dust is a slow burn piece that is engaging throughout. There is an underlying intensity that pulsates relentlessly, elevated by a brilliant score, and even when there is no action, the desperation of Cliff’s situation is tangible. Visually, Blackhurst makes use of a noir inspired color palette that looks fantastic and enhances the film’s more brutal aspects. Blood for Dust’s tonal and visual elements go hand in hand together and add to how the audience cannot tear their eyes away from the screen.

Blood for Dust movie
Blood for Dust / The Avenue (2024)

Blood for Dust is also elevated by terrific performances. McNairy is great as the downtrodden Cliff, a man who feels trapped by his circumstances and sees little way out. However, it is Harington that stands out. Adopting an American accent, he plays Ricky perfectly. Ricky may be a loose cannon and a criminal, but he also has a charm and swagger about him. After all, he is able to convince Cliff to become involved in an extremely risky business even though Cliff knows all too well how untrustworthy he is. It would be great to see Harington in more roles like this.

Overall, Blood for Dust may follow a well-trodden path that audiences feel like they have seen before, but somehow that does not matter at all. Visually, thematically and tonally strong, this is definitely a film worth watching – especially in today’s society where more and more people feel pushed to the extreme by the economic climate. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Blood for Dust 4 out of 5 stars.

Blood for Dust movie poster
Blood for Dust / The Avenue (2024)

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