The grieving loner on a mission of retribution is a stock cinematic type, yet the damaged anti-hero of US indie writer-director-cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier’s low-budget revenge thriller Blue Ruin couldn’t be further removed from such fantasy figures as granite-faced Charles Bronson’s urban vigilante in the Death Wish films.
Superbly played by Macon Blair, bedraggled vagrant Dwight Evans is hell-bent on revenge against the redneck clan that has destroyed his family. Unlike most of his cinematic peers, however, he is a singularly inept avenger, cack-handed rather than cool. None the less, he is not to be deflected from his path.
At every step along the way, Saulnier and Blair put us in Dwight’s shoes, making the film’s sustained passages of nail-biting suspense even more tense, yet also forcing us to confront the moral consequences of revenge and the shocking effects of violence. Shifting deftly through different moods, including pathos, dark comedy and appalling bloodshed, Blue Ruin always counts the costs of payback.
Certificate 15. Runtime 90 mins. Director Jeremy Saulnier.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Channel 4 DVD. Special Features: Behind the scenes featurette; deleted scenes; camera test film.
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