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Blue Ruin – 03/05/2014 @ The Watershed, Bristol.

May 21, 2014

Contains Spoilers from the start!  

 

I knew from the strong opening scene that this was going to be an interesting experience. When we see a man having his relaxing bath time disturbed by someone coming in the front door, one would assume someone is intruding in his house, but when you see him leap out of the window naked, it turns out he was temporarily occupying a family’s home. This is the life of Dwight (Macon Blair), a homeless man who lives in a rusty blue Firebird (hence the title) and who spends his days foraging for food while we see people enjoying the rides of a theme park in the background and occasionally breaking into people’s homes. The first fifteen minutes of the film are almost silent as we see how Dwight lives, but when he is told that a person has been released from prison, we see an instant change in him. I start to get the feeling that Dwight was once a normal person before something awful happened, and the film reveals the background and the dire consequences which follow.

    Quickly, Dwight tracks down this man recently released from prison and brutally stabs him to death after some hesitation. We learn this violent act is Dwight avenging the brutal death of his parents allegedly at the hands of this man and his family the Clelands. What is revealed as other members of the families from both sides are dragged into this vicious circle of violence is the fact that Dwight’s father had a long passionate affair with the Cleland family’s mother. We head to a satisfying and necessary conclusion where the continuing cycle of violence begetting violence comes to a head in a thrilling face off.

     The film is very slick and stylistic. It owes a heavy debt to early Coen Brothers films like ‘Blood Simple’, ‘Fargo’ and even their later film ‘No Country for Old Men’. Every moment in this film counts and every scene is thrilling in some way. I couldn’t help being occasionally confused over the family background, but once it came together, I saw it as the good film it was. Made with hardly any money and largely self funded, it does not show any restrictions. Each scene is beautifully shot and has been made by people who love and understand this particular genre. It may be a revenge thriller genre peace but with a difference. We see a brutal, bloody killing by the main character in the first 20 minutes, and after initially questioning his sanity, we still feel sympathy for him as he was a victim of  terrible event which happened. The pacing and the gradual revelations are perfect. Writer and Director Jeremy Saulnier has made a staggering achievement with his debut film. I look forward to seeing films made by him in the future.  

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