REVIEW: Blue Ruin

20 07 2014

Blue RuinIn a current moviemaking climate where thrillers keep getting bigger, louder, and more involved, “Blue Ruin” provides a welcome change of pace.  Rather than rev his film’s engine to see how hard he can push it, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier holds his movie back with immense restraint.  It’s a fascinatingly controlled slow burn that’s executed with the utmost precision, resulting in a chillingly minimalist piece to watch.

At times, Saulnier’s extreme exactitude does come off a little cold.  We never really connect to the characters, nor do we really understand the psychology motivating them.  But that seems to be Saulnier’s modus operandi with the film, and it works just fine because he commits to it fully.

It’s not about this specific story but rather about what compels people in general to seek violent retribution.  (When they’re both available for home viewing, “Blue Ruin” would make a fascinating double bill with summer 2014’s “The Rover.”)  Saulnier provides precious little backstory on what’s compelling the film’s main character, Macon Blair’s Dwight, to seek revenge at all costs.  We keep thinking some giant explanation is coming, but it never does.

Normally, such vagueness in a film is equivalent to noncommittal or pure lack of imagination.  In “Blue Ruin,” though, it means exactly the opposite.  Rarely has so little meant so much.  B+3stars


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