Film Review – Blue Ruin (2013)

BLue Ruin - post

Title – Blue Ruin (2013)

Director – Jeremy Saulnier (Murder Party)

Cast – Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack

Plot – Dwight (Blair) is a man quite visibly disturbed by a past event in his life, sending him to a life living in his car, scrounging for food and stealing clothes to survive. When Dwight hears news of something from his old life it sends him out on a path of revenge that is anything but straightforward.

“I’d forgive you if you were crazy but you’re not crazy, you’re weak”

Review by Eddie on 27/10/2014

One of the coldest and most distance inducing films you’re likely to watch in quite some time, Jeremy Saulnier’s low budget and dour effort Blue Ruin is a film that can be appreciated for craft overcoming budget constraints but goodwill towards its effort can’t help it get over the hurdle in what is a very arduous journey and one that is not all that original.

In speaking about Blue Ruin it must first be noted that the story behind the film is a lot more interesting that what happens in it. Saulnier gathered crowd funding through the Kickstarter program which allowed him to have sufficient finance to make this movie which was obviously a passion for him. It’s an interesting time in the movie making business and an exciting one where passionate directors and storytellers can garner help from film lovers and film backers the world over and get enough support to make ideas into reality. Blue Ruin is a testament to this process and its production is of a high standard and acting often very strong but the films story on camera is nowhere near as interesting as it was behind it.

As mentioned previously the tale of Blue Ruin invokes feelings of distance and coldness that cannot be overcome. Our protagonist here is Dwight (who it must be said is very well acted by Macon Blair), a man at first unkempt and feeding himself with food from trash cans, it’s an imposing sight and a intriguing one but as the film enters more typical revenge like fair the film loses steam fast, right through to a completely unsatisfying conclusion. Saulnier’s tale is deliberately light on hard facts or back story but with that comes a sense of a missed opportunity to really make us feel connected to Dwight. As a character that barely speaks and appears in nigh on every scene of the film it’s not good enough to have us invested in such an un-relatable figure.

Blue Ruin is an at times quite horrifying picture with some extremely brutal acts of violence punctuating a film that otherwise lacks energy and often heart. Blue Ruin has succeeded in showcasing the virtues of a new tool available to filmmakers in the form of Kickstarter yet also showcases that the most important thing at a filmmakers disposal is not only a believable story but a story inhabited by characters we can care for and root for no matter how dark a journey they may be about to undertake.

2 gun loving friends out of 5

20 responses to “Film Review – Blue Ruin (2013)

  1. Hi Eddie!! Oh, it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it! I quite liked it actually..especially Blair’s performance!I’m very curious to hear if Jordan liked Murder Party..I hated it!! Haha!!
    I agree,though, the story itself was very interesting!! 🙂

    • Hey Maria!

      I really wanted to like this one more but I found the execution a little off. I wish I had felt more for Blair’s character even though his performance was quiet strong.

      It was very cool how they pulled this all together though and full credit to all involved for using Kickstarter so effectively, it’s a great new tool for filmmakers.

  2. I actually quite liked it! I actually felt quite a strong connection to Blair’s character. He is such an average guy (he actually looks and sounds a lot like one of my professor’s, kind of eerie) that I find it hard NOT to feel for him; he has been thrust into such an overwhelming despair that he is not equipped to handle, it is hard to say that someone else in that situation would not have done largely the same thing.

    You mention that the film because an exercise in standard revenge plot points as though it is a negative, but I thought that was quite the point! Blair’s character is no Jason Bourne or Liam Neeson; he is comically unequipped for a typical revenge yarn. But that is where the beauty lies: in subverting the character type and replacing it with a real human being. I felt the question being asked of me as clearly as if it had been written on the screen; “What would you do in this situation?”

    I understand your review and respect your right to your opinion, but I disagree completely!

    • Ha mate cheers for expressing your thoughts and appreciating mine to 🙂 It’s great how films even as small as this illicit different reactions for a wide range of people. I do understand the appeal to a movie like this having such an everyday central character though, its good he wasn’t some one man army type guy!

    • Ah great to hear Mark. I do feel a like I am pretty alone on this one but I was not engaged at all really, surprising even more so as I normally eat this type of fare up! I am looking forward to seeing your Top 10 come the years end.

  3. Great review, Eddie. I actually liked it, loved it, really. But I can completely see why you (and probably many others) wouldn’t be completely sold on it. It’s certainly not for everyone. But you should ABSOLUTELY check out the director’s previous film “Murder Party”. It’s so good! Different tone, different kind of film. Think “Evil Dead 2” or “Bad Taste”, but without the supernatural aspect. Comic-horror shenanigans. I love it.

    • Oh man that’s the 2nd time it’s been mentioned so I will absolutely endeavour to check Party out – cheers man! I’d like to see the director given a larger budget – be interesting to see what he can come up with.

  4. Sorry about this but I really liked this one too, one of my favourites this year! Good review though, it was interesting to read your thoughts and I can understand what you say about not feeling a connection to Dwight.

    • Another big fan mate, join the others Stu. It’s great hearing everyone’s positive reactions to this! Wish I felt the same but that’s the joys of cinema, the differences we all get 🙂

    • Ha I feel even more alone in my thoughts now. It did do well with the budget at it’s disposal, I really think my biggest issue with it was not feeling anything towards any of the characters, no one I was rooting for.

  5. I just watched this movie too. I’m quite surprised you didn’t really like this movie, ’cause I think I feel like “connected” to Blair’s character—but, perhaps, that’s what make it, somehow, lame—the character’s lame.

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