Dwight is a vagabond living out of his car. A cop picks him up on the side of the road and takes him down to the station, but not for the expected reason. He isn’t in trouble. The cop is sympathetic to divulge saddening news that someone is being released from jail. Despite only saying about five words in the first half of the film, it is obvious that Dwight is severely affected by this news. The audience can infer that this distressing news has something to do with his current undesirable situation. With this newfound knowledge, Dwight follows the man who is released from prison to exact revenge.
It is by happy happenstance that I stumbled upon Blue Ruin ‘on demand’ recently. Director Jeremy Saulnier has a longer cinematography resume than directing resume, so it is no surprise that this film is beautiful and haunting in atmosphere. The composition of this film immediately reminds me of Septian and Red White & Blue; both gripping psychological thrillers with menacing appeal. This is not a horror movie, but rather a slow-burn captivating thriller.
I like the approach that the film takes. Not a lot of information is divulged during the film, but enough for the audience to understand Dwight’s extreme motives. Macon Blair plays Dwight with precision. He is a great actor without even having to say anything. At first Dwight seems harmless enough, but he has been homeless for a long time and survival is engrained in him. He will fight to the bitter end, even when the dead man’s dangerous family gets involved. After a shocking and blood-sputtering death scene, Dwight arrives on the doorsteps of his estranged sister. He fears for her life after what he has done.
Dwight’s character and the plot itself take an interesting and unexpected progression. Graceful and horrifying, this is one of the tensest films I have seen as of late. The engrossing and unbearable tension caught my breath on multiple occasions. The dark and inventive plot only adds brilliance to the ultra-polished indie feel. The players have a past that no one will ever recover from. Victim becomes assailant, becomes victim and then assailant again; a riveting tug-of-war that seems to have no happy ending.
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