Published on May 6th, 2014 | by Allan Brown6
Blue Ruin Review
Movie Review: Blue Ruin (2014)
Running Time: 90 mins
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson
Writer director Jeremy Saulnier has been crafting indie films on a shoe string budget for quite some time, but like most talented film makers he too has struggled to break through. Back in August 2012 however, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, this was all about to change. His pledge and aim was to raise $35,000 in a bid to complete the project that was to become, Blue Ruin. Needless to say, the self financed movie was successful in its kickstarter sponsorship, rising above and beyond its prevised target. Upon completion, the film was eventually bought by The Weinstein’s RADiUS Company, and here we are two years with it finally gracing our screens.
The film focuses on Dwight (Macon Blair), a dishevelled beach bum whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home in Virginia, to carry out an act of premeditated vengeance. Proving himself to be a hopeless assassin, Dwight quickly finds himself in a vicious battle to protect his family as things progressively spin out of his control.
At its heart, Blue Ruin is a powerfully intimate character study of a man haunted by his past. However, beneath its soft hues and calming exterior there is an unsettling intensity that never leaves. Indeed, the film could be described as a skirmish of contradictions. Its stunning cinematography, colour saturation and prolonged scenes void of dialogue, are an almost catalyst for the shocking violence that bursts onto screen with unmatched velocity and without warning.
While similar tonal shifts have often been the undoing of a good film, here these contradictions somehow find harmony, heighten the experience at every turn. This is indeed testament to Jeremy Saulnier’s astute direction and focus of his project, as well as the films riveting lead performance from Macon Blair.
Everything from the astute framing of each shot, its dark humour and its character subtleties, to its ruthlessness and unflinching intensity, screams The Coen Brothers. However, whilst the Oscar winning duo are a clear influence here, Jeremy Saulnier has borrowed from their astute palate of colours, to craft his own unique, stunning, and highly effective thriller.
If pushed, it could be said the films falters through lack of any real character development. Throughout it’s entirely, we learn very little of our lead protagonist, Dwight. Questions of, what lead him to his lifeless existence and place of continual stasis remain a mystery throughout. With that said, there is enough in the here and now, to lock the attention of the viewer as we follow Dwight on his inherited crisis, one step at a time.
Summary: Blue Ruin is a stunningly accomplished edge of your seat thriller that is as intense as it is intimate and as brazen as it is subtle. Jeremy Saulnier you have our attention