McNeil Minute Reviews | Blood, Sweat, and Years

Another Matt Boda Home Run

After reviewing several films from creator Matt Boda's slate, he's struck again with yet another high quality production. Blood, Sweat, and Years is a journey, a story of brotherly love, commitment, and the unbreakable bond of family. The film is a 25-minute proof of concept for an inevitable feature of this dramatic and often thrilling script. The story follows two brothers who sail down the Americas to deposit their dead brother's body in a more honorable spot than a morgue or a crematorium. A promise they had given their brother prior to his untimely death. The film is well made, well acted, is endearing, and emotionally affecting. Let's jump into why exactly this film works on those levels.

The Heart of the Story

The film succeeds primarily due to the genuine authenticity of the story. The brotherly love between the two leads, their chemistry, and their relationship along with their commitment to their late brother being the emotional heart of the story contribute to the overall success of the film. The emotional depth of the characters, their relationship, and how they follow through on their promise to their late brother all mold together to form the cornerstone of the script and the plot as a whole. Their perseverance through hardship, the vast, harrowing journey, and their resolve throughout the course of the trip is inspiring and wholesome. Latent flashbacks spliced throughout the film bring added layers and emotionally complex depth to both characters, making the story strong and sturdy.

The Craft

The filmmaking, unspurprisingly, is top notch once again for this Matt Boda production. The cinematography, likely used drones and high quality cameras to explore the vast, sprawling waters of their journey. At times, we go wide to see just how fearless or often times hopeless their expedition seems. And at other times, we go close and intimate for the closeness of brotherhood and the troubled past they explore in their family lives. It's clear that so much care and attention is put into the filmmaking, just as it was for the story - which is clearly very close to the heart. The editing on display is also quite impressive with the seemingly found footage of their childhood, the flashbacks, and the quick cuts of past traumas. The look of the film is so pristine, I was profoundly impressed by it all put together. The direction is also strong, which elevates it above others within the indie, low budget drama.

The Performances

The two lead performances are the next strongest aspects of the film. Matt Boda alongside Jesse C Boyd are superb as the brothers who set out on this honorable journey for their late brother. The two work together so well. Each has great chemistry with one another and charisma as actors. I thoroughly enjoyed their interplay, their dramatic moments together, their individuality, and their tenacity. Each has a dynamic performance as they juggle humor, drama, and inescapable thrills. The film allows them both to shine, giving them equal opportunity to rise, boast their dramatic chops, and possibly outshine each other. It's difficult to know who does, as both are spectacular.

The Verdict

Overall, Blood, Sweat, and Years is a very solid proof of concept film that will succeed tremendously as a feature. The emotional heart of the story is the soul (and heart) of the film as a whole and soars from its genuine authenticity. The filmmaking on display is once again, without fail, top shelf and I was thoroughly impressed with the pristine quality of it all. The performances are on point, Matt Boda is not only a talented filmmaker, but he has acting chops to boot. Not to be overshadowed by Boda, Jesse C Boyd is a formidable talent thanks to his dramatic tour de force here. The impeccable editing, the eye-popping cinematography, and overall production value give this film a sizable edge over others within the genre.


Rating: Great


Blood, Sweat, and Years is a Get It Made/Absurd Hero Production and is available to stream on Vimeo and The link to the film can be found here.

Rob McNeil

My name is Rob McNeil. I was born and raised in Normal, Illinois and I am a 28 year-old award winning screenwriter. I am very passionate about film, so much that I watch far too many films on a daily basis. I have written fifteen feature screenplays, a spec pilot thriller series, and several short scripts. I aim to make filmmaking a career, but for now, I will write about it.

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