Funded by Kickstarter Blue Ruin is the perfect example of how crowd funding can get projects off the ground that otherwise might never see the light of day. Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who’s only previous full length directorial credit was 2007 Murder Party, a horror comedy that I can’t even pretend I’ve seen.
The film starts with Dwight (Macon Blair) living out of his car and scavenging food from bins. That is until a friendly police officer takes him to the station in order to inform him that someone has been released from jail. Upon hearing this Dwight crosses the country in order to murder the man, that we later discovered murdered his parents, and ignite a blood feud in his hometown.
On paper it sounds like your standard revenge thriller, however this is much more intelligent than that. Firstly because Dwight is just a bit useless. Having spent years living rough he is a pathetic broken individual and unlike your standard revenge film does not have the miraculous ability to duel wield Uzi’s while diving through a window. Instead when he steals a gun he can’t remove the trigger lock and he blunders rather than quips his way through his goals. The hopelessness of Dwight is portrayed brilliantly by Macon Blair, who puts in a very strong performance with a character who for long portions of the film barely says a word. He makes Dwight seem smaller than he actually is and once he removes the beard and long hair from years of living rough, it is hard to believe that this is a man who could return soup at a restaurant, never mind enact the revenge he is aiming for.
Blue Ruin is essentially an art house revenge thriller, with Saulnier taking an idea that we have all seen before ,but breathing new life into it. It’s an incredibly stripped down movie, as the first twenty hardly see a word being said and yet we manage to learn everything we need to know by just watching Dwight setting out on his mission. It’s also an incredibly intelligent movie, with the question of how a broken man reacts in this situation being fascinating to watch. This is unlikely to make waves out the box office but it is definitely worth seeking out and hints towards a very bright future for both it’s director and it’s star.