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Review: Slow-burning ‘Blue Ruin’ brings depth to the revenge genre

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Blue Ruin


“Blue Ruin” is an underdog movie if ever there was one. At it’s core is Dwight, a beach bum estranged from his family who finds his simple, quiet existence turned on its head when he receives some grave and unwelcome news that prompts him to return to his childhood home to commit an act of bloody vengeance. But, Dwight, who is portrayed with a haunting naturalness by Macon Blair (a long-time pal of writer-director Jeremy Saulnier), is not a man adept at killing. No, Dwight is a man who seems typically much more inclined to avoid people and action. So, when he commits his violent, vengeful act, the fallout proves to be a point of great intrigue that the film delights in examining.

When he comes to realize that his actions may well cause cause the criminal Cleland family to make retaliations of their own, Dwight takes steps to protect his own family, and soon enough finds himself in a gritty struggle to defend them and find some way to end what his vendetta began.

The supporting turns alongside Blair’s lead performance are similarly muted yet impactful. The tone of the work is reminiscent of unassuming, noirish thrillers that the Coen brothers have proved themselves particularly adept at creating––think “Blood Simple” or “No Country for Old Men”, but it also channels something of the grit and desperation that highlighted the familial tensions at the core of “Winter’s Bone” and the quiet nature of “ Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”. In other words, “Blue Ruin” is, like so many indie thrillers before it, an engrossing and stylish narrative. The story that propels “Blue Ruin” is extremely simple, a fact for which it may be faulted by some, but also the facet that allows the narrative to explore repercussions and characters in the manner that it does.

“Blue Ruin” may not be a film for everyone, but for indie fans and revenge devotees, it’s well worth the watch.


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