Synopsis: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family
Jeremy Saulnier’s follow up to his little seen comedy horror Murder Party is certainly less funny, but doesn’t hold back on the squeamish moments. Blue Ruin opens with a few minutes of dialogue free sorrow as the movie’s bearded, bedraggled protagonist Dwight (Macon Blair), emotionally beaten and rifling through the dumpsters of a shitty carnival in search of half eaten burgers. His only possessions it would seem are the clothes on his back and the near antiquated blue sedan he lives in. Who he is and why he lives this way is unclear but what is evident is that when he is delivered some bad news by a local police officer regarding the release of a local man from prison, things are going to go very bad very quickly for all involved. And alas, when Dwight seeks to even an old score he sets off a chain reaction that will only end in a lot of bloodshed and the uncovering of a lot of dark secrets.
Stark in it’s colouring and bleak in it’s tone, Blue Ruin delivers a classic exploitation revenge thriller that makes up for in tension and wince inducing injuries what it lacks in budget and star quality. At it’s heart is a career making turn from relative unknown Macon Blair who portrays a meek and extremely introverted man driven by a bile like need for revenge against those who destroyed his family. He never gives the impression of being truly in control of the situation, forgoing the traditional normal-guy-inexplicably-turned-Commando-style-badass for a more genuine and empathetic turn as an ordinary man out of his depth, trying to regain some control over something far beyond his capabilities.
At times the little known cast struggles to carry the weight of the film in it’s more emotionally raw moments, and Dwight’s relationship with his sister would have been an interesting story to develop in more detail, albeit this would have made Bklue Ruin ostensibly a different film entirely. These are ultimately minor criticisms though of a film which delivers a gritty, old school revenge thriller on a shoe string budget and set both Saulnier and Macon as ones to watch for the future.
Conclusion: A classic old school exploitation revenge thriller that with a bigger budget could easily have been a Luc Besson produced affair
Cast: Macon Blair