Blue Ruin (2014)

Let me start off by saying that this film is not for everyone, it is a constantly slow burning film which is not typical for a revenge film, however what is truly amazing to me is that no matter how slow this film trudges along, it doesn’t slow the pacing of the film down at all. In fact the film went by quicker than I would have liked, I would have loved another 20 minutes in this world but that would probably have ruined the effectiveness of this film.

This film is absolutely stunning, some of the shots are amazing to me and sometimes seemed hyper-realistic and almost pulled me out of the moment, now that isn’t a bad thing by any means as it means the director of photography, who also happens to be the director, is doing a fantastic job and I am a sucker for a beautiful shot.

While we are talking about the multi-talented writer/direct/DoP, Jeremy Saulnier, let’s talk about his script. The story is one that has been done to death a million times, mainly used in every Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme film this side of the 80’s but it is the dialogue that sets this film out from those generic straight-to-DVD releases. The dialogue that has been written for the main character, Dwight is perfect. We aren’t given much back story at first about why Dwight is how he is yet through the dialogue, or oft times, lack thereof it leaves little traces of what we can assume was Dwight’s past. Now obviously as the film progresses we find out more about why Dwight is like he is and why he is doing what he is doing and this is where we are introduced to his sister, Sam.

The dialogue between Sam and Dwight is very real, very raw and very emotional and perfect for their key scene together. Now of course you could have the best script in the world and without great actors it would mean nothing. Macon Blair plays Dwight pitch perfectly; the little nuances of the character are displayed clearly on his face, the dialogue flows extremely naturally, yet it is the scenes without dialogue where Blair really shows off his talent. There were many parts of the film with little to no dialogue and the fact that Blair still kept the film moving along as well as added interesting quirks to the character. Keeping Dwight compelling even in the scenes where Dwight does not speak was no easy task, yet Blair pulled it off seemingly effortlessly.

The only other performance I thought worth mentioning was Dwight’s sister, Sam played by Amy Hargreaves. Hargreaves only has a couple of scenes and none of them were that special except the scene in the Diner where Sam and Dwight have their “family reunion” and she has come to learn what has happened to Dwight since he left. This scene was brilliantly underplayed by both actors and the director, Hargreaves’ single tear down her cheek was more powerful than if it were her bawling her eyes out and screaming at the top of her lungs, especially as a single tear from Blair just cemented that scene as one of my favourites of the film.

The biggest I problem I had with this film was the fact that this whole family was chasing Dwight and it almost became too goofy to be taken seriously but luckily Blair played it perfectly and naturally. Nevertheless I would have been happier if it took Dwight longer to come to his decision to kill his parent’s murderer and then have the rest of the film be Dwight hiding out from police as that is the more plausible.

‘Blue Ruin’ is definitely worth watching, but don’t expect this film to be like ‘Kill Bill’ or ‘Oldboy’, this film is a slow, methodical, excellently executed film with some story problems that can be easily overlooked.



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