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Blue Ruin Review

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Director: Jeremy Saulnier.

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack.

Running Time: 90 minutes.

Certificate: 18.

Synopsis: Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) is a mysterious outsider whose quiet life on the fringes of society is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. But the course of revenge never did run smooth…

Remember the simple joys of those surprise cinematic gems, those rewarding little indies that came out of nowhere and reminded us that films were supposed to have a story and heart? If you’re under the age of 20, probably not, but for the rest of us the sleeper hit now seems nothing more than a nostalgic dream. Well, rise and shine, my aged dreamers, and enter BLUE RUIN with both barrels blazing to blow the sleepy dust out of those crunchy little eyes.

BLUE RUIN is a must-see movie, yet, despite smashing it at every indie film festival hither known to planet Hollywood, this perfect picture has maintained a low profile right up until its UK release this week. Modesty would seem to be a trait of fledgling filmmakers and lifelong friends Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair, who take a simple revenge premise and expertly build from there. Nothing is forced in a film that sees a mysterious hobo turn into a vengeful mercenary in a seamless journey from WALL.E to TAXI DRIVER with all the dark comedy and farcical elements that make The Coen Brothers’ films so special.

BLUE RUIN’s natural and subdued script is played out perfectly by Macon Blair in the central role. With some of the most emotive eyes since Chaplin and an almost cripplingly reserved posture, Blair’s Dwight cuts a figure full of fear and anger that makes for an endearingly righteous protagonist. After an intriguing intro to Dwight our interest is piqued and the film wastes no time, ramping up the action and plot with unexpected brutality. A teary scene in a diner won’t fail to put a lump in your throat and blends the muted emotion of estranged siblings with tragedy that draws the audience in further. Once these emotive nodes are tickled and the scene set, it’s a rollercoaster ride of tense house invasions, grisly (and botched) self-surgery and resourceful human hunting from an inept tramp.

The film’s use of sound is also noteworthy, employing pulsing and sickening drones that disorientate and build suspense throughout. Director Jeremy Saulnier ties all these elements together perfectly and floats them on a meandering road-movie tone; whilst incredibly dramatic events take place, there’s a natural ebb and flow to the film’s setpieces that is expertly balanced.

Without a doubt, BLUE RUIN is the best film we’ve seen so far this year. Its success lies in its simplicity, its obvious care, and attention to detail. Here, the epic themes of revenge and murder are delicately wrapped around characters and motivations that are completely understandable – and then it jams in some gore for good measure. The film’s gentle escalation creates a genuine uncertainty of where our protagonist’s action will lead, making it gripping from start to finish. Sure there are no CG setpieces or A-listers, but BLUE RUIN is a ballsy reminder that character and story should always come first and ultimately make for a far more rewarding watch.

[usr=5] BLUE RUIN is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd May, 2014.

A BA in Media & an Art MA doesn’t get you much in today’s world – what it does give you however is a butt-load of time to watch a heck of a lot of movies and engage in extensive (if not pointless) cinematic chitter chatter. Movies and pop-culture have always been at the forefront of Joe’s interest who has been writing for THN since 2009. With self-aggrandised areas of expertise including 1970s New Hollywood, The Coen Brothers, Sci-Fi and Adam Sandler, Joe’s voyeuristic habits rebound between Cinematic Classics and Hollywood ephemera, a potent mix at once impressively comprehensive and shamelessly low-brow.

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