Thursday, 27 March 2014
On the surface, Blue Ruin is a down-the-line, ticks all the boxes revenge thriller. What it actually is, is something much different. The film comes from Jeremy Saulnier, who could be introducing a new genre to cinema: the multiple-twist movie.
The plot seems pretty straight forward at first. Dwight (Macon Blair) is a homeless man living on the outskirts of an amusement park. One day he finds that the man who killed his parents is about to be released from prison. Clearly, Dwight has no intention to turn the other cheek in this case and he sets out to a successful assassination. It's a stripped down tale, but it's far from a straight forward one. Whenever you get comfortable, Blue Ruin changes into something else. Blue Ruin is a consistently unpredictable, twisty, and excellent thriller. At no point will you be quite sure where the film will take you, or what direction it will go next, up until the final scene. Saulnier's vision of crime drama with moral issues is in fact a breath of fresh air in a stagnant genre.
Dwight is a real character and this is a real film. This is not big explosions and diving out of the way in style, this is Dwight bumbling his way through assassinations and flailing away from genuine threats. Despite what cinema may have taught you, violence is a bad thing. Violence has a memory. It's that realism that makes Blue Ruin such a nervy ride. Everything Dwight does has a consequence. He never gets away scott-free, he's constantly on the run from someone - and you never know where that someone is going to come from.
There are no moments of safety once Dwight has committed his first sin, and as such there are no moments of safety in Blue Ruin. It's a horribly tense film. At times it's an uncomfortable watch, but it's always a rewarding watch. It’s a thriller that feels like lightning; sudden, terrifying, and excitingly driven.
Blue Ruin never leaves Dwight’s perspective, everything goes through him and Macon Blair portrays him sublimely. Despite being in every scene, I still feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of the character. He gives nothing away, but he's still very easy to follow and great to watch. There's this subtlety that Blair brings to the character that makes him almost mesmerising. He's a gripping character, which makes the film gripping. This is Macon Blair's film, more so than Jeremy Saulnier's film, and he completely owns it.
Saulnier has given us so distinctively cliché in the revenge thriller and turned it on his head. He's made it real, violent and brash. And with Blair's performance on top of that, it's not to be missed.