Monday, May 5, 2014

Blue Ruin Review

Revenge flicks, one of the most polarizing sub-genre of cinema in existence, at least for me anyway. Here's the thing, I totally get the idea of wanting to exact revenge on someone who has committed a terrible injustice to you. What happens all too often in these movies though, is a murderer/criminal/mafia/something or other kills/rapes/something or other a member of a regular person's family, and regular person becomes super badass revenge guy, complete with all kinds of combat and firearm training, and a MacGuyver-like ability to fashion death traps from various household items. You know what I would end up doing if the mafia murdered someone close to me? I'd call the cops and hope they caught them. I'm not a badass, I don't have a switch that could be flipped in the event of a tragedy. I'm a regular person. I sat down to watch Blue Ruin because I'd heard good things about it, and while it's a revenge movie, this one comes with a dose of reality and a bit of a twist.

Blue Ruin begins with a lonely drifter named Dwight living out of his car. He gets news that the guy that killed his parents years earlier is being released from prison, and decides that the punishment has yet to fit the crime. When Dwight sets out to get his revenge, it turns out that being an assassin isn't as easy as it looks. Things go from bad to worse for him and his estranged sister and her family as they now find themselves targets of the killers much larger family.

This movie is the every man's revenge flick. Dwight does one dumbass thing after another, which you'd expect from a person in over his head after acting out of anger. He clearly isn't cut out for this kind of thing, and that's part of what makes this movie so great. Real people in a very fucked situation doing what real people would likely do. I'll take that in my revenge thriller every single time.

A movie is only as good as it's performers, and Blue Ruin impresses here as well. Macon Blair is simply fantastic as Dwight. There are moments when this film is almost completely silent, and yet somehow Blair is able to get across every single emotion Dwight is feeling just through his eyes. It's amazing to watch. The rest of the cast also perform admirably, even Eve Plumb (Jan from the Brady Bunch!) shows she's still got some chops when it comes to acting. I also particularly enjoyed Blair's back and forth with Kevin Kolack, the two of whom are attempting to kill each other, and aren't doing a great job of it on either count.

Blue Ruin is a well written, well shot, fantastically acted dose of realism in the revenge/thriller genre. The pacing is good, the violence is graphic but not over the top, and it even offers up a bit of a twist in the story at the end, which of course I'm not going to ruin here. Highly recommended for fans of the genre, but even people who normally roll their eyes at these types of movies (like me), may come out of this with a new perspective on things.

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