Blue Ruin


A tense thriller stripped to its bare essentials, Blue Ruin is a sublime piece of filmmaking.

Blue RuinA film about vengeance, the narrative isn’t the least bit complex. In a genius move, this is probably the first revenge movie I’ve seen that doesn’t begin with the devastating crime that acts as a catalyst for the story to come. Instead, within five minutes of movie’s opening, Dwight (Macon Blair) is out for blood. We don’t know why he’s so aggrieved and we don’t know who he’s after. But bit by bit, we piece the backstory together. This drip-feeding of information is part of what makes the film so great.

Jeremy Saulnier’s writing is pure perfection. I can’t remember the last time I saw a script this lean and efficient. The thing is, every single word counts. This is the type of movie that should be studied as a part of scriptwriting 101. There are no throwaway lines, and every word we hear tells us a little bit more about the characters.

The other amazing element of Blue Ruin is Macon Blair, who has a seemingly impossible job. Since Dwight’s out to murder someone pretty much from the word go, it’s incredible that I was able to sympathise with him. As I said earlier, revenge movies usually start out with the horrendous crime – a cheap way to get us to root for the main character – but here Blair has no such luxury. His softly spoken presence and Stallone Sad Eyes™ mean that this ostensibly bleak film doesn’t make you want to slit your wrists once the credits roll, even though it really should.

The characters of Blue Ruin are the kind of scary backwoods folk you’ve seen before in the likes of Deliverance and Winter’s Bone. They are a law unto themselves and this is one of those films where the police aren’t even a blip on the radar. Whilst it obviously echoes the likes of Straw Dogs, it also has a strong sense of inevitability, the kind that was so strong in First Blood (and then subsequently dropped in the later Rambo films, of course.)

Running to a brief 87 minutes, Blue Ruin achieves what many others struggle to do in two hours. A startling achievement, this really is a must-watch movie.

Rating: 5 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 2nd August 2014
Hoopla Factor: 5 stars

Blue Ruin is available now on DVD from Madman.

Snowpiercer These Final Hours