Blue Ruin (2013) – Review

When a recluse’s quiet, and relatively peaceful life, is turned upside down upon hearing about the release from jail, of a man connected to the death of his parents, he embarks on a crazy and reckless quest of vengeance, acting as an amateur cutthroat hitman, in order to seek revenge, but also protect the estranged family he has left too. A surprisingly good hidden gem, with an intriguing morale message behind it, that is definitely worth a watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writers: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Macon Blair, Amy Hargreaves, Devin Ratray

I must admit to the fact that Blue Ruin wasn’t a movie on my to-watch list, nor was it a movie I was aware of, prior to it being recommended to me recently and with it now streaming on Netflix, what better reason to give it a shot? To my surprise, what transpired was a captivating, low-budget, edgy, thriller that was beautifully shot, and demonstrated some picturesque parts of Virginia, USA – a side of the United States we don’t necessarily see depicted in film and television too often.

In terms of the story and plot, there was something strangely relatable with it and you often found yourself siding with the lead character that spearheaded a large majority of the brutal and savage violence that took place. It’s fair to say that Blue Ruin was very dark and brutal, almost surprisingly so, but to my delight, the violence wasn’t particularly sensationalised or unrealistic – the rawness and sheer authenticity was a real strength of the movie.

It could also be argued that the filmmakers did a brilliant job when it came to making the viewer question how they’d handle the death of a loved one – and whether people like it or not, some would have the desire to do just what Dwight (Macon Blair) did in this flick, and seek retribution himself, rather than being satisfied by the justice system.

Something else that stuck in my mind when watching this, however, was the fact that the runtime stood at a rather modest and short, one-hundred and thirty minutes, despite it seeming a little longer when watching the film. A reason for this could be down to the fact that there was limited dialogue, especially in the opening act – many of the scenes seemed to drag on for slightly longer than they should have done, making the entire flick seem longer in return.

Rather surprisingly, there were no major names put forward in terms of casting for Blue Ruin, instead, Macon Blair was the man tasked with leading the film. Perhaps better known for his roles in Murder Party or Green Room, he did a stellar job in portraying the harness of the situation his character, Dwight, found himself in. Elsewhere, the support was largely unknown too, with Amy Hargreaves and Devin Ratray adopting the roles of Sam and Ben respectively – a relative and friend of Dwight.

As with many films of this nature, there was infact a hidden morale message somewhere deep in there, relating back to the cycle of revenge that ultimately has no good outcome for anyone involved. If one person is murdered and another avenges that death, then where does the cycle ultimately stop? If ever? A really good movie, which is well worth the watch, especially considering the short runtime and lack of star names involved.

“I’m not used to talking this much.”

Dwight – Blue Ruin

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