28 December 2015

Blue Ruin, a Review

A story of grief, revenge, and insecurity, Blue Ruin—written, directed, and photographed by Jeremy Saulnier—illustrates the treacherous journey of a man hoping to dispatch the perpetrators of his wronged past.

The protagonist, Dwight (Macon Blair), after years of residence within a shoddy car adjacent to an aged boardwalk, upon hearing from a local police officer that the murderer of his parents is due to be released, begins his multi-state trek to discover the killer, Wade Cleland, Jr. (Sandy Barnett), and exact revenge.

It is only after their bloody confrontation, though, in which Dwight stabs Wade, leaving him to die as he steals his car to escape, that the crux of the irony of this film begins to take hold: While it is solely because of the decades-old double-murder that Dwight initially attempts to seek revenge, the remainder of the film details the—only questionably justifiable—continued streak of bloody vengeance between the two families, tolling life by life for the sake of their lost ones.
Indeed, with every murder in this film comes another poke at the question of justifiability. If the initial crime was grave enough to commence a family feud—a vicious circle of stress, relocation, and murder on both sides—then how can the division point of these families resolve if, at each gunshot and burial, the rift between the two families only grows? The resolution is null, yielding that all must crumble, that nearly all must die in the quest of honoring their loved ones, and that the only household items that remain may tell of all that is lost.

In Blue Ruin, every pause is deliberate, every gunshot is planned, and the thrilling unpredictability of it all forces a heartrending distance between the viewer and the viewed, leaving only an intoxicated excitement in the audience to lean into the mess and emerge chillingly satisfied.

Dwight (Macon Blair) contemplates murdering the family of his parents' murderer, Wade Cleland, Jr. (Sandy Barnett).
Image Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment

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