'No speeches – you point the gun, you fire the gun,' is the advice given to Dwight (Blair) when he’s handed a rifle, and while he can't resist a little monologue when that moment comes Blue Ruin undercuts the tropes of the revenge thriller at every turn. This one will surprise and surprise again.
wight is homeless, rummaging about bins for dinner and living in his car, a blue Pontiac pockmarked with bullet holes, down at the beach. When word gets through that a man has been released from prison, a shaken Dwight readies himself, follows him to his party, stabs the man in the head, and flees. Elation soon turns to horror when Dwight releases that the man's family can and will trace the Pontiac to his sister's (Hargreaves) and he scrambles to ensure her safety, which means guns and bodies.
ike Brendan Muldowney's Savage, Blue Ruin plays with the expectations of the revenge movie. This is no Death Wish - Macon Blair is more like a depressed Nathan Lane than a gung-ho Charles Bronson, shuffling about his ill-thought out reprisal plans with a schoolboy expression of bewilderment and fear. The minimalist set up allows the story to get underway very quickly – we don't know who Dwight is or what the ex-con has done until the information dribbles by – but the deft writing is so bang on we're intrigued and on board from the off.
aulnier's masterstroke, however, is having Dwight succeed in his mission inside fifteen minutes, catching us by surprise. What is going to happen now? Where is this going to go? Here's a revenge thriller more interested in the fallout of a successful act of vengeance and what that can do to one's psyche; there is the rather uncomfortable notion of Dwight's detachment which has rendered him emotionally stunted is healed by the catharsis of violence. But this isn't a right wing might-is-right flick. The moments of black humour, like Kevin Kolack's macho jokiness while staring down the barrel of a shotgun don't gel however.
ith an indie, low budget, southern backwoods vibe reminiscent of Shotgun Stories, Blue Ruin has all the earmarks to do for Saulnier what that debut did for Jeff Nichols.