Blue Ruin (2013) Film Review, a movie directed by Jeremy Saulnier, and starring Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock, Sidné Anderson, Bonnie Johnson, Ydaiber Orozco, and Erica Genereux Smith.
This film begins quietly, as we follow a man called Dwight (Macon Blair), a puffy ginger-haired everyman who’s terribly down on his luck, sleeping in his beater of a car and eating out of dumpsters. Something terrible has happened to him; what exactly we don’t know.
Blue Ruin wisely uses no exposition to explain Dwight’s predicament, there are no flashbacks or clumsy newspaper headlines to explain his circumstance. Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier focuses the camera tightly on Dwight’s face, intimately detailing his suffering.
Soon, a police officer reveals that someone is getting released from prison, sending Dwight into a fury. From this moment on, it is clear he will seek the ultimate revenge on this man. Not the masterful killing seen in spy movies, but a sloppy, real killing, bloody and imperfect, as if you or I are possibly capable of if pushed to the brink. It’s from this edge that Dwight operates, for better or worse.
Dwight has a sister, Sam (Amy Hargreaves), and two nieces that become vulnerable when Dwight takes a knife to the man we later find out killed both his parents. The revenge killing is an awkward, violent affair, feeling more visceral than any other on-screen murder of recent times, invoking a scene from an ancient Greek tragedy where death was brought on by a man’s hands.
Blue Ruin doesn’t ask the audience for sympathy or compassion. The movie is an unapologetic story of a man who has no choice but to do what he does, despite the fact it will be the blue ruin of his own life. The film is really a well-crafted meditation on humanity’s inability to move on from life’s darkest tragedies. Sometimes, life breaks us and there is no putting the pieces back together, and if you subscribe to this ideology, you’ll reason that murder isn’t disappearing from our culture any time soon.
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