Blue Ruin (2013) Directed by Jeremy Saulnier. With Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack and Eve Plumb.
Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier’s tale of revenge set in the meh-west, tells the haunting, yet suspenseful story of Dwight (Macon Blair), a homeless drifter, who upon learning that the man responsible for his parent’s death is to be released from prison, sets out to exact his vengeance. Now, revenge films aren’t anything new but done well, they can still feel fresh and engrossing, which to his credit Saulnier achieves with flying blue colours.
In the central role, Macon Blair plays a mix of perpetual shock and emotional detachment. This is a grief stricken man, complicated by a potent blend of anger and fear. It’s a fascinating portrayal of someone who has lost the will to live for himself, motivated only to protect his remaining estranged family (his sister and her children).
Amid the traditional violence that makes up any revenge flick worth its weight in blood, Saulnier manages to touch on something deeper and far more resonant than your average Charles Bronson caper. There’s a dark poetry to much of the imagery and none of it has the feel of glorification that can often seep into these pieces. Ultimately, it’s a film about a family line being torn apart, through infidelity and then violence.
This doesn’t have the cartoon lightness of say, Kill Bill. There are no ‘cool’ moments or zeitgeisty goings-on that’ll permeate throughout movie history – it’s just very solidly told with unforgiving characters that feel real enough to heighten the suspense to tell a brutal, involving story. 4/5