“Blue Ruin” Review
Mike's ProfileMike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years and sees two to four new movies in the theatre a week. Mike has a weekly movie blog where he reviews films both present and past at: lastonetoleavethetheatre.blogspot.com He can be followed on Twitter @lastonetoleave
“Blue Ruin” (2014)
When we first meet Dwight (Macon Blair), he is taking a shower in a nice home. Unfortunately, it’s not his home and when the homeowners come back unexpectedly, Dwight makes a hasty exit out of the bathroom window naked and dripping wet. So we soon discover that Dwight is homeless, living in his car near a beach. He spends his time combing the beach for cans and bottles, digs through trash for food and sleeps in his car. He is awakened one morning by a police officer and taken to the station, not to be arrested but to be given the news that the person who murdered his parents is going to be released from prison.
Very methodically, Dwight prepares both himself and his car to take a trip. From his actions, which includes stealing a gun from a car in a parking lot, we learn that Dwight is going on a trip for revenge and that this could get messy. Dwight travels back to his hometown in Virginia, waiting outside the local prison for the murderer to be released. He follows the newly released man, who has been picked up in a limo by family and friends, back to a neighborhood bar where apparently a party celebrating his release is going on. Dwight, having failed to find a gun that will work, takes an ice pick with him and proceeds to stab the murderer in the bathroom, killing the man while the party continues on in the next room. Dwight escapes, cleans himself up and visits his sister (Amy Hargreaves), telling her what he has done. When the killing isn’t reported on the news, Dwight realizes that the man’s family didn’t call the cops and is now out for revenge. Now Dwight, after sending his sister away, must fight to survive the onslaught of a dangerous family out for his blood.
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier gives us a new and taut look at the revenge film. It takes an unconventional hero and puts him into a situation that looks unwinnable. The film, slowly builds the tension, so much so that a light turning on automatically makes you jump. Saulnier has created a very seedy world, where people take matters into their own hands and the difference between right and wrong doesn’t seem to matter. It’s an environment where violence is seen as a means to an end and something that can happen at the blink of an eye. Saulnier lets us linger in Dwight’s presence as he slowly figures out how to handle the situations that he is in. It’s an amazing script, creating someone like Dwight, whom we might look down upon or avoid, and instead creating someone about whom we care.
Macon Blair gives a tour de force performance as Dwight. On screen during the whole film, it’s a remarkable performance. Blair gives us insight into his character through his facial movements and his body language, as Dwight is a man of few words. When we first meet Dwight, he is a mess, with a full beard that practically goes down to his knees and a mess of matted hair on his head. After killing the man in the bathroom, Dwight once again breaks into someone’s home and cleans himself up, cutting off his beard and grooming his hair. It’s a remarkable transformation, from someone that you might fear into someone who looks rather meek and childlike. Blair makes us care about Dwight and we feel the weight of his decision to take on the rest of the murderer’s family, so that his sister can stay alive. Blair takes an everyman role and makes it heroic. Dwight is a man who is being dragged into more and more violent situations and Blair shows us that it takes on a toll on Dwight both physically and mentally.
“Blue Ruin” is a violent, scary film that shows us a man, when his hand is forced, can do more than anybody expects. When Macon’s sister realizes that she and her family are in danger due to what he has done, she tells him “I’d forgive you if you were crazy but you’re not…you’re weak.” She couldn’t be further from the truth. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it AgainFollow @Lastonetoleave
“Blue Ruin” is playing exclusively at The Plaza Theatre .