Blue Ruin: a refreshing take on revenge

Blue Ruin is a passion project 25 years in the making. In the end, director Jeremy Saulnier needed the assistance of Kickstarter to get his film off the ground. For one, I’m glad that Saulnier’s myriad funders stumped up their hard-earned cash. Without it, this film, chock full of originality and class both in front of and behind the camera, may never have made it past the Hollywood gatekeepers.

Indeed, this is actively anti-Hollywood. The less you know about this gem, the better. But, without giving too much away, Blue Ruin follows an ‘ordinary’ man named Dwight (played superbly by Macon Blair) who seeks vengeance on the man who wronged his family. What follows is a series of furious twists and turns that enliven the plot without ever leaving the realm of plausibility.

There is no spoon feeding, no flashbacks or expositional dialogue – in fact, there isn’t much dialogue at all. Instead, Saulnier unfurls his story through captivating imagery and sterling, understated performances.

Blue Ruin is no regular revenge thriller. Much of the film focuses on the tedium involved in exacting one’s revenge. Dwight spends most of his time waiting around and planning his next move.

Blair proves the perfect match for this unconventional hero, bringing pathos to the role of someone whose one reason for living is the killing he has vowed to carry out. Blair shows himself to be a real talent.

This is a sublime yet taut, suspense-filled blend of revenge thriller and disturbed horror. The film is a fantastic showcase for both actor and director and together they have achieved a very difficult feat; they have taken a well-worn genre and created something original and refreshing. It was well worth the 25-year wait.

Jon Fuge is a writer based in London.

Watch the trailer for Blue Ruin:

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