Rob Blackhurst’s latest crime thriller, starring Scoot McNairy and Kit Harington, “Blood for Dust,” is an excellent watch. The film receives the slow-burn treatment, eventually intriguing you about what might happen when the curtain finally falls. The best thing about Rob Blackhurst’s craft is that he never tries to pretend that he has to deliver something powerful or meaningful. He portrays two different characters with different objectives, and then the story just flows as it should. Scoot and Kit’s performances are among the things that will keep you occupied throughout the 100 minutes or so. If you’re really up for a good thriller, “Blood for Dust” should definitely top your choices.

Spoilers Ahead.

Blood for Dust (2023) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:

The film starts with a man shooting himself to death when Ricky and Cliff arrive at the spot. Ricky seems to be very upset seeing the man in this position. But Cliff is stunned, mostly because he did not expect it from that person. Seventeen months have passed, and now we see Cliff selling an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) for a certain company. Cliff is seen by a man who complains to his company that he has been involved in some mischievous stuff during his tenure in Maridian. The man who shot himself, Mark, was a cashier, and he took the blame at Maridian.

But, in reality, Cliff invited Mark to be a partner with him and Ricky for extra money. Mark knew that Cliff needed money because of his son’s treatment. Mark also has two kids and a wife to feed. So, together, they start exploiting the company for better profit until one day, Ricky gets greedy and wants more. When their marathon turns into a 100-meter race, Mark understands that to save everyone from this, he must take the blame. So, Mark killed himself, taking all the blame. Obviously, when you are the cashier and the money goes missing, you are the one to go down.

Why does Cliff Agree to Team Up with Ricky?

Cliff is greeted by Ricky out of nowhere in a bar and they discuss a business proposition. Ricky says that he is dealing with some men, which sounds criminal, and he is in need of an extra hand. Ricky has known Cliff for a very long time. Therefore, he needs someone who doesn’t think twice about breaking the law. Cliff does not understand the product Ricky is selling as Ricky tells him to meet with him whenever he decides to actually work with him.

Later, we see Cliff’s manager firing him because someone told him about Cliff’s involvement in the incident that took place at Maridian. Cliff has a wife to provide because he loves her so much that despite reaching the AA meetings at the right time, he is not able to enter them because he is just too afraid to confront her with the truth. Even Mark’s family is somewhat dependent on him. His own son’s hospital charges also cost him a lot. Amidst all of this, when he loses his job, Cliff is left with no other choice but to work with Ricky, knowing that there may be risks involved.

What does Cliff Require to Do on the Job?

Before meeting with Ricky, Cliff tries multiple opportunities to see whether he can work as a salesman. However, no one seems to be interested in hiring him. So, when he finally meets with Ricky, he shows him different kinds of guns. Cliff thinks that he is required to sell these guns to people. But when Ricky finally reveals the job description to him, he meets with John, who sells drugs. Ricky does the delivery and pick-up job on their behalf. Since they are expanding their business, Cliff comes into the equation.

John, by using a bit of violence, makes it clear to Cliff that if their product goes missing, they will ensure that people close to Cliff get hurt the most. Later, John assigns Slim, one of his men, to deliver the drug and receive the money along with John. On their way to deliver the drugs, Slim tells Cliff to slow down because a car has been following them for quite some time. When Slim confirms that there is no threat, they finally park the car outside a hotel, and later, Cliff goes to visit Mark’s family.

We see that Mark’s wife, Rebecca, kisses Cliff, which hints at their affair. Later that night, Cliff spots the same car that has been following them in the afternoon. He decides to stay at Mark’s, worrying that something wrong happened. The following morning, Cliff joins Slim to deliver the drug. When they meet the buyers, Cliff sees that they all are carrying guns. Cliff is nervous at this moment because he is just a salesman who has been selling AED, and now he is selling drugs. Well, the transaction goes smoothly until a huge shootout takes place.

A still from Blood for Dust (2023).
A still from “Blood for Dust” (2023).

Why does Cliff Betray Ricky?

When the delivery is on its final steps, someone knocks at the door and then starts shooting at the buyers. Cliff and Slim find out that it is Ricky, and Slim follows him by shooting at the buyers. When the whole buyer party is killed, Ricky shoots Slim dead and steals both the drug and the money. Cliff is unable to understand what is going on as soon after Ricky meets with the same guy who has been following Cliff even at Mark’s place. Ricky kills him. He then tells Cliff that he has some dealers who will buy these drugs, and they can double their profit.

As time progresses, Cliff starts to doubt when the time will come when Ricky can kill him, too. He even asks him once. But Ricky gives a shady answer, which can only be seen as ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps.’ Cliff starts to think about the time when Mark had to die because of Ricky’s greed for more money. It is inevitable to think of himself in Mark’s position since Cliff is far less cunning than Ricky. He also remembers how threatening John can be if he knows that his product is gone along with the news of Slim’s death.

He even calls John once saying that he ran away from the place because the deal never went well and Slim remained there. But, as his trust in Ricky starts to fade, he decides to call John and tell him about the location they are making a deal with the new buyers. Later, when Ricky tells him his side of the story and why he is doing it, Cliff at first feels remorse. But later tells Ricky that being a salesman, he has been feeding lies to his buyers, and soon it will all be gone. Ricky does not understand what he is saying. However, he believes that it will be the same for Cliff as well.

Blood for Dust (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Is Cliff Able to Get Away for Good?

When the deal is in its final stages between Ricky and the new buyers, John and his men arrive at the spot. Cliff tries to help John in the beginning. But soon he realizes that John is not going to let him go because he has helped him. So, he understands he is on his own, and a shootout takes place. Ricky has almost killed everyone when Cliff kills John with the help of the AED. Finally, a face-off between Cliff and Ricky takes place in which Cliff shoots Ricky, and Ricky’s bullets run out.

Cliff removes himself from the scene with all the drugs and the money. Later, we see him washing the car and draining all the drugs, keeping the money inside the car. Before dying, Ricky was holding the bag full of money close to his chest. Now Cliff gives a part of the money to Rebecca on his way back home. Cliff will not be giving away all the money to Rebecca because once he has told, he will give his wife, Amy, a better life that she deserves, and he has his son to take care of. So, it is inevitable that he has some money with him to fulfill his purpose.

At the end of the film, we see that the police have discovered Cliff’s ID, perhaps from the crime scene itself. While the investigation is still going on, we see Cliff looking at Mark’s kids inside the church where the reverend is asking the men and women to be ready to face the devil when the time comes. It is highly unlikely that there will be a sequel to this film. But this is a good ending designed by Rod Blackhurst, where he shows the protagonist turn into the devil himself and confront the sins of his past while interacting constantly with his present misdeed.

How so? Well, Cliff looks at Mark’s kids and he knows that they are fatherless because of him. Also, the police discover Cliff’s ID. It means he will now have to be aware all the time because of his sins. Cliff just wanted to give a good life to his family, and Ricky wanted to have a good life on his own. In a world that is ruled by law and justice, the room for error is very thin for someone like Cliff or Ricky to actually get away from the crimes they have committed. Cliff does bad things while trying to do the right thing: protecting the ones he loves the most. Is that a bad thing? Well, it is a world of perspectives. It will all come down to the perspective of the man who will finally confront Cliff for all his ‘injustice.’

Read More: Damaged (2024) Movie Ending Explained: Who Is the Real Killer?

Blood for Dust (2023) Movie Trailer

Blood for Dust (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Cast of Blood for Dust (2023) Movie: Josh Lucas, Kit Harington, Scoot McNairy
Blood for Dust (2023) Movie Genre: Mystery & Thriller/Crime/Drama/Action  | Runtime: 1 hr. 38 min
Where to watch Blood for Dust

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