Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon BlairDevin RatrayAmy HargreavesKevin KolackEve PlumbDavid W. ThompsonBrent WerznerStacy RockSidné Anderson
Seen on: 8.1.2017

Dwayne (Macon Blair) has hit rock bottom. He doesn’t have a job, he lives out of his car, he doesn’t have any friends. It is only when he is told that the man who killed his parents is being released from prison that he starts moving again: he goes to find him and take his revenge. After he does, he goes to find his sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves). But revenge provokes revenge – and this spiral has only just begun.

Blue Ruin was entertaining enough but didn’t blow me away. Emotionally, I just never connected all that much to Dwayne and his ploy for revenge.

Blue Ruin’s writing is tight. It isn’t boring for a single moment and every scene fits the overall story structure and does its part in developing characters and plot further. The characters make stupid decisions sometimes, but it never feels like they just make this decision to make things for the story happen, but because people make stupid decisions sometimes and they have consequences.

But despite the tight writing and Macon Blair’s really fantastic, layered performance, I just never identified with Dwayne all that much (or anybody else in the film, for that matter), which meant that ultimately I didn’t care all that much whether he’d succeed or not. In fact, the most emotional moment for me was when it became clear in the film that Sam was his sister and not his ex-wife, something that remained irritatingly unclear for longer than it should have.

Add to that the fact that the film really has a problem with classism, given that its villains are basically every “redneck” stereotype roled into a hyped-up package, who are punished for the harm they inflict on Dwayne and his decidedly middle-class family, further cementing the movie narrative that poor people are dangerous aggressors.

Nevertheless Saulnier can build up and keep the tension and the film looks really good. With those good qualities, one can look past the weakness, even though those weaknesses kept the film from really exciting me.

Summarizing: Very watchable.

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