Title: Blue Ruin
Studio/Distributor: Radius|TWC, Lab of Madness, Neighborhood Watch, Paradise City
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eva Plumb, David W. Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Synopsis: Mysterious misanthrope Dwight lives a quiet life but that quiet life is interrupted when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance against Wade Cleland, the man who killed his parents. Proving himself to be a formidable killer, he soon finds himself heading into a showdown with the Cleland gang in order to protect his estranged family.
Review: There have been many tales of revenge, some of which lean into the realm of action. “Death Wish” & the original “Oldboy” are prime examples. Other times, they lean into character-driven dramas. “Blue Ruin” falls into that in-between. While some of the action in this film come in small, brutally violent bursts, the thing that drives this revenge drama/thriller is the development of the lead anti-hero protagonist Dwight (Blair), a beach bum who lives a slovenly lifestyle. He has no home, his family has abandoned him, the only kind of refreshments that he can replenish himself with are the ones inside a trashcan. However, Dwight finds purpose when he learns that his parents’ killer, Wade Cleland, is being released from prison. Dwight’s violent confrontation with Wade soon makes him the target of Wade’s gang and family, leading him to do what is necessary to protect the family members that turned him away, even going as so far to ask a old friend (Ratray, still recognizable as Buzz McAllister from “Home Alone 1 & 2”) to help him carry out his revenge plan.
The thing about a movie of this caliber is how minimal things are throughout. While there aren’t any big sequences of action, the action sequences here are kept small and personal, making the tense, quiet moments of suspense that much more impactful. Macon Blair’s performance is the one thing that becomes the driving force of the entire film. It’s his performance that makes Dwight’s transformation from homeless despot to a dangerous & quiet man willing to risk and eventually sacrifice his own life to seek vengeance and fulfill his own promise to bring peace to his family and himself. The film was released under The Weinstein Company’s specialty indie division, Radius|TWC. The Weinstein’s are notorious for their meddling with the films in their 4 divisions: TWC, Dimension, Dragon Dynasty & Radius|TWC and luckily, they didn’t do anything to tarnish the great potential that this movie had. “Blue Ruin” is a revenge thriller of a different kind. It delivers a quiet kind of loud that sometimes is needed in revenge movies. Think of it as if “Death Wish” and “No Country For Old Men” combined themselves with a Nicholas Winding Refn film. This is a film that is truly worthy of those comparisons.