Blue Ruin opens showing drifter Dwight (Macon Blair), a man in his early 30s, living on the streets. Something clearly went wrong in his life and, for some time – as shown by the length of his unkempt beard, he’s had it tough. Then the police pick him up and explain that a certain man is about to be released. That man is a double murderer, who has just made a deal to get out of jail.
In a film with precious little dialogue – the complete opposite of seeing a table full of women gassing away at lunchtime in a canteen – we learn that the freed man, Wade Cleland, murdered Dwight’s parents, and so begins this revenge thriller. Unfortunately for Dwight, he’s not a professional hitman, but the difference with this film – and where it is very clever – is that rather than spend 90 minutes tracking him down, Dwight deals with the issue early on, and then spends the rest of the movie dealing with what follows, making this a great road movie which can, literally, travel anywhere.
The plot in Blue Ruin builds slowly, with some nice gory moments, despite only having a 15-certificate, and it also keeps to a tight 90 minutes, and features a fantastic performance from Macon Blair as the bewildered Dwight as he comes to terms with Cleland being let out of jail, and what he plans to do to the convict after that. There’s also strong support from Amy Hargreaves (Homeland Season 4) as his sister, Sam, Devin Ratray as old friend, Ben, and, particularly, Kevin Kolack as Wade’s brother, Teddy. Kolack has a look of Robert Englund about him. Get them together for a double Freddy film, perhaps? 🙂
I don’t want to say much else about the film as it’s essentially a road movie, and what happens is best for you to discover yourself.
As for the title? I couldn’t figure it out, but there’s some interesting thoughts on IMDB. However, do NOT click on this link until AFTER you have watched the film.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and there’s no issues with the print at all, as you’d expect from a modern film, with everything onscreen sharp and details. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma screen with a Samsung BDP1500 player.
Audio-wise, while the sound is in the usual DTS 5.1, this is mostly an atmosphere-driven piece, but dialogue and occasional gunfire are all clear as a bell.
The extras are as follows, they’re in HD and are subtitled:
- Camera test (3:50): Seemingly random establishing shots, on location, as they prepare for filming. Some of these ended up in the film. The music in the background is Wye Oak – I Hope You Die. What a fantastic track.
- Behind the Scenes (18:54): This is a great, but brief, extra, showing how the whole cast and crew came together to make the film, as well as the gory effects when the results of gunfire are explored and the film’s world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
- Deleted Scenes (5:06): None of them are crying out to be put back in the film, but they serve as nice little extras.
There are subtitles in English only, a slightly more than the usual number of chapters most distributors give (12), since there are 14 here. Still not enough, really.
Running time: 90 minutes
Studio: Channel 4 DVD
Released: September 8th 2014
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Canon C300 (Canon L-Series Lenses))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino and Anish Savjani
Screenplay: Jeremy Saulnier
Music: Brooke Blair, Will Blair
Dwight: Macon Blair
Ben Gaffney: Devin Ratray
Sam: Amy Hargreaves
Teddy Cleland: Kevin Kolack
Kris Cleland: Eve Plumb
William: David W. Thompson
Carl Cleland: Brent Werzner
Hope Cleland: Stacy Rock
Officer Eddy: Sidné Anderson
Margaret: Bonnie Johnson
Large Man: Daniel L. Kelly
Amanda: Ydaiber Orozco
Rock Girl: Erica Genereux Smith
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.