Blue Ruin Review
I always love a good revenge flick. I don’t know what it is about the average revenge movie that punches my clock every single time I sit down to watch one, but I do enjoy them mostly. It always depends on how well they are made, but the great revenge movies of our time are great. I have always been drawn to people who stand up for what is right, when they try to catch the bad guys with dignity, but that dignity doesn't work, so they must turn to their dark side for satisfaction. I believe in an “eye-for-an-eye” world. I certainly don’t believe in killing and I always have faith in our justice system, but if somebody tried to hurt my family, or my girlfriend or anybody particularly close to me, there would be a crater in the Earth after I was done with them. I always find it intriguing when a character is left up to nothing but what is inside themselves and that has always been cool.
Most revenge movies put their characters in extraordinary situations and sometimes those situations are so extraordinary that the film comes off hokey. Sometimes I can get taken out of a movie when an ordinary person becomes a superhuman person at the drop of a dime. I think that is part of the reason why “Blue Ruin” so much. This is a movie that takes the revenge genre and completely smashes the audience in the face with it. This is the grittiest revenge movie I have seen in quite awhile, full of atmosphere and tension and a sense of realism. The film treats its characters with respect and really creates an engrossing situation out of its story. I especially liked how the main character never becomes ungodly after falling so deep into the situation revolving the film. The film plays true and tense throughout, which made the film stick out compared to other films of its kind in recent years.
The film follows Dwight (Macon Blair), and when we meet him he’s a dirty mess. He’s hair and beard are both overgrown, he lives in cars, he has unkempt clothes and appearances. Whatever has happened to him, it has truly taken affect over his entire life. When a police officer picks him up, they tell him that somebody has been released from prison. Whoever has been released from prison, Dwight is immediately fascinated by them, and he goes on a mission to find the man being released. The man Dwight has been looking for is named Wade (a mystery man, I can’t find a name for the actor anywhere), and Dwight finds Wade at a homecoming party at a bar. It is at Wade’s homecoming party when Dwight brutally murders Wade.
Think I just ruined the film for you? Hardly.
Dwight soon realizes that he is completely and utterly in over his head. Wade’s family is full of crazies and they go after Dwight after what he has done. So Dwight must hide his loved ones and prepare for the war that he has brought on himself. The movie is full of twists and turns and even though we have seen similar twists in movies like this, it feels fresh and absolutely parallel to the film’s context. The work done by Macon Blair is riveting, and he gives the “man on the mission” character new life. Blair spends the first half of this film not talking, but investigating and lurking, planning for his attack. Its great work and I hope to see more of Blair in the future. I also liked his small stretch of film with Ben (Devin Ratray) who helps Dwight at a crucial time in the movie. Ratray does equally strong work in the movie.
If I have anything against the movie, it’s that it takes WAY too long to get going. There is quite a bit of build-up to the large finale at the end, but I am sure the entire journey to the end-point was fully necessary. Still, I love the energy of the film; I love the yearning to be something else, to take the genre to the next level. If this movie reminds you of anything, it will surely be The Coen Brothers’ “No Country For Old Men” from 2007, lots of the same tension and atmosphere was captured in both films and I think they both work in their own way. For that reason, “Blue Ruin” is absolutely worth your time.
FINAL GRADE: B