Not Thicker than Water
With Blood and Wine, director Bob Rafelson delivers a gripping and suspenseful drama. This involving movie stars Jack Nicholson as Alex Gates, a wine merchant who boasts some of Florida's elite as clients. However, while his clients are successful millionaires, he is anything but.
In fact, Alex happens to be flat broke and canít even afford to pay his wife Suzanne (Judy Davis). He also has a grown stepson named Jason (Stephen Dorff) who loathes him. None of this stops Alex from spending money on his mistress, Gabriella (Jennifer Lopez). But Suzanne's needs are never met nor are Jasonís -- and both of them feel isolated, resentful and full of hate. Alex realizes that he has to earn money and try to turn things around.
However, Alexís lack of funds are about to become the least of his troubles because of Victor Spansky (Michael Caine), a British jewel thief bent on pinching a 1.3 million-dollar necklace with diamonds the size of chocolates. The intended victims are some of Alex's clients. Thinking they will come into a lot of money fast, Alex and Victor set out to steal the necklace together.
Coincidentally, Gabriella is the nanny for the victimís children. While oblivious to the imminent heist, she knows the complete layout of the house, so Alex surmises she will let her guard down during the robbery. Unfortunately, Gabriella is fired, which puts several kinks into Alex and Victor's plan. They decide to try a far more creative approach. To get past the security guards at the entrance to the gated community, they pretend that something needs to be repaired in the wine room or the entire collection will be lost. Victor dresses as a repairman and pokes around in the attic giving Alex enough time to find and pocket the necklace.
Victor, who's on parole and can't believe how well the heist went, hides the necklace inside a Sears cardboard box. He also snaps a photo of Alex with the necklace as insurance against being double-crossed. With his chronic breathing issues, Victor doesn't want to see the inside of a prison again.
Alex must now fly to New York on a flight leaving that night. He grabs his wife's suitcase and packs his clothes. But Suzanne is livid and wants to fight over the checks she's missing as well as his mistress and his lack of concern for his own wife. Alex tells her to make a list of grievances so they can have a fight later. An argument leads to Alex being beaten and Suzanne leaving with Jason, the suitcase, a few meager belongings and -- unbeknownst to either of them -- the jewels.
Alex chases after Suzanne and Jason because he fears Victorís associates could be out to kill them all. Will he be able to save his wife and stepson? What will become of the necklace?
Nicholson gives a strong performance here as a hostile, agitated, inconsiderate character. While Alex may not feel remorse, unlike other psychopaths he knows what empathy is and becomes challenged when the time comes to express it. Caine, Lopez, Davis and Dorff provide solid support.
I found Blood and Wine to be a fast-paced, powerful crime thriller.
(Released by 20th Century Fox and rated "R' for violence and language.)