A revenge story that follows Dwight (Macon Blair), as he returns to his hometown and proceeds to become a very inept assassin. At first glance, this may seem like a very dull and predictable film but the synopsis is a vague look at the content in the movie. For the most part, movies tend to end when the protagonist defeats the villain of the story. In Blue Ruin, the bulk of the story happens once the antagonist is killed. After the man that murdered both of his parents is released from prison, Dwight, a beach bum, goes out to murder the ex convict. This is where the majority of the story takes place. Throughout the rest of the film, Dwight has to deal with the repercussions that come with murder. The movie features a lone protagonist and scarce dialogue between characters much like Drive (2011).
Having a good amount of experience being a cinematographer, Jeremy Saulnier does a great job at making all the scenes of his movie look beautiful. Saulnier heavily uses open areas, beaches, and forests in his film. The limited dialogue in Blue Ruin also force the viewer to appreciate the cinematography and have a more intimate understanding of Dwight’s world. There are few instances where blood and gore were used in this movie but when it is used, it is extremely gruesome and intense. A very intentional and interesting choice for a movie of this genre. Revenge stories like this thrive off of a lot of action and gore but because the protagonist that we follow is such a regular guy, the amount of gore illustrates how foreign this type of violence is to Dwight.
What is even more impressive about Blue Ruin is the fact that despite being low budget, the movie does not fail to deliver. Having a budget of about $35,000 that was collected from a Kickstarter project, it does not feel as if the film is lacking much. Macon Blair’s portrayal of Dwight is perfect, a man who resorts to violence but is human enough to react in disgust or horror when he sees the blood that he has spilled. Saulnier has only directed one other feature film before Blue Ruin but the way he was able to build tension throughout the 90 minutes of the movie show that he has years of experience doing this. There was hardly a moment where I was not at the literal edge of my seat.
As if it was not enough to have great cinematography to accompany a well made film, Jeremy throws in an amazing twist at the end of the movie. Blue Ruin will inevitably be one of those amazing movies that only a few people will see because of the director’s lack of hierarchy and star power. It would be imprudent to say that Jeremy Saulnier will be a household name in the future but I will say that he has certainly demonstrated that he has the talent to be among Hollywood’s A-listers.
Rockit Raccoon Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (as of Nov. 11, 2013)