blood on her name bethany anne lind review

Year: 2020
Director(s): Matthew Pope
Writer(s): Don M. Thompson, Matthew Pope
Region of Origin: USA
Rating: n/a
Color, 85 mins

Synopsis: An accidental killing spins out of control when a woman’s conscience demand she return a dead man’s body to his family. (Source)

Casual violence and death are a staple in storytelling. Blockbuster films carry high bodycounts, and a lot of times, deaths are played for shock value. Matthew Pope’s Blood on Her Name deals with the profound aftermath of just a single death. It’s piercing, intimate and draws an increasingly complex look at the nature of cyclical violence and human nature. Using minimalist aesthetics to compound damning emotional resonance, Pope’s film cuts deep. He strays away from easy answers, and Bethany Anne Lind’s amazing performance lends the film its fragile humanity. 

Things begin as grim as possible. Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind) is bloody and bruised, staring at a fresh new corpse in her garage. After dialing 911, she quickly hangs up, unable to go through with the call. It was an act of self defense, but one that will have grave consequences. She quickly decides to conceal the crime and dispose of the body, but her conscience says otherwise. She doesn’t know how, but she knows that she has to return the body to its family. From here, Leigh puts a series of unfortunate events into motion, testing her resolve and endangering everyone she loves. 

Despite the deceitfully simple idea at the story’s core, anything can happen and does. With that, Pope’s able to juggle a myriad of moral and narrative conundrums. His character’s conscience and actions are constantly splitting everything into new directions. Because of this, the film is a successful mashup of ideas and genres, exploring revenge, the repercussions of violence, familial bonds, and common decency. Pope illustrates how violence moves through generations, and how the actions of parents and children can be linked into an endless cycle of pain and torment. Fittingly, there are no real answers here. Instead, this is a story with deep implications and even deeper empathy. 

blood on her name bethany anne lind

Of course, the film’s powerful through line is Bethany Anne Lind. As Leigh, Lind is the powerhouse the film needs to really matter. From the very start, she has an intensity that contrasts clashing, colliding and transforming emotions. Without her, the film’s nuance would be lost, turning our perception of each sticky situation into a focused look at desperation and the ideas that feed it. Next to Lind, Will Patton and especially Elisabeth Rohm surprise and bring urgency to Leigh’s sticky situations. 

Blood on Her Name takes an already irresistible premise and poses humane questions which elude blockbuster counterparts. With an extremely brisk runtime, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, nor stall on any one point longer than it needs to. It’s efficient and economical, knowing exactly what it needs to make its twisty struggle for redemption impossible to ignore. With tension simmering and withholding until we can no longer bear, Pope ends the film on a truly horrifying note. Without saying too much, it’s a conclusion that feels right and earned. When the last blood has been spilled, we’re left with a torrent of emotion and bleak truth.