In ‘Bad Blood’, we see the beautiful Juliette Binoche alongside Denis Lavant playing “Alex” from ‘Boy Meets Girl’ once again. Along with Todd Haynes’ ‘Safe’, this is the best AIDS allegory film in years. In ‘Safe’ Julianne Moore plays a housewife who develops “environmental sickness”, and becomes allergic to almost anything (deodorant, lotion, hair gel, gas, etc etc), eventually developing welts/legions on her face. In Carax’s ‘Bad Blood’ there’s a nameless “disease” going around killing couples. Both ‘Safe’ and ‘Bad Blood’ deal with AIDS in a non-traditional/non-obvious way. More importantly, they show that AIDS (even though that’s not what its called in either movie) can affect anyone, and not just homosexuals, which is what most traditional films that’s focus on AIDS tend to do. I dunno, maybe I’m just pretentious, but i prefer these kinds of movies over ‘Philadelphia’ or ‘And The Band Played On’.
In ‘Bad Blood’, “Alex” is hired by 2 over-the-hill thieves that need his help (and steady hands) to steal a cure/serum for the mysterious disease that’s been killing people, so they can sell it and get the money to pay off an American gangster they’re in debt too. Alex becomes distracted from his task when he meets one of the theives’ mistresses; “Anna” (Played by Juliette Binoche), and falls madly in love with her. He finds it very difficult to communicate with Anna, so he just observes her mostly. To make things worse, Alex’s ex-girlfriend (played by Julie Delpy) doesn’t want to accept the fact that they’ve broken up, and manages to track him down. Carax moved away from the Godard influence found in his first film (even though there’s STILL a little bit of Godard’s style that resonates through), and seemed to be even MORE influenced by Bresson. The way the actors in ‘Bad Blood’ deliver their lines at times sound just as emotionless and dry as the actors do in ‘The Devil Probably’ or ‘Lancelot Du Lac’ (both great films by Bresson that you all should check out if you havent).
The highlight of this movie for me (next to Lavant’s great performance) is Juliette Binoche. And not even so much her acting. Not too say that she isn’t a great actress, because she is, but her beauty kind of gets in the way of one paying attention to her acting in ‘Bad Blood’
Carax’s use of color is bold and subtle at the same time. At the start of the film (which has an atmosphere very similar to Carax’s later film; ‘Pola X’) the colors are flat and drab. When Alex is hired to steal the serum (and comes in contact with Anna for the first time), the color red is made more than obvious for the rest of the film. The splashes of red on the walls, the red couch that Binoche lays on, her red sweater etc. Carax even utilizes Binoche’s very white face to highlight the color the red. The blood on the side of her face at the end, her red cheeks and red lips looks even brighter next to her almost pale complexion. And every color in the film that isn’t red is either dark or grayish, which highlights the color even more. Naturally when there’s a movie with “blood” in the title, coupled with the fact that the movie is a metaphor for a blood-affecting disease like AIDS, chances are you’re going to subconsciously associate the color red with the movie. Carax knew this and he played off of that.