REVIEW: Blue Ruin (2014)

BASHBOOMPOW’s first Contributor Review! Here’s Lou with some thoughts on this year’s indie suspense thriller ‘Blue Ruin’…

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Watching a film when you know nothing about it in advance, and in which you also don’t recognise any of the actors, is not something that happens all that often for me – Blue Ruin just called to mind the many similar-sounding film titles. Thankfully, it was worth taking a chance on; it was gripping with pin-you-to-your-chair-acting, bursts of jaw-dropping violence, with the occasional slice of black humour. It was just the right mix from new director/writer Jeremy Sauliner.

As a massive fan of the anti-hero genre, this film was never going to fall on fallow ground. The plot edged with goriness has a good dose of fatalism. Maybe the writer believes in karma; the story played out like a pre-destined chain of events, and it punched holes in the realism of the film, leaving it sodden with blood and revenge, in a style with influence ranging from uber-violent Korean films to Cohen-style suspense thrillers.

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“I KNOW, I KNOW, ‘I’VE GOT RED ON ME’! I SAW SHAUN OF THE DEAD TOO Y’KNOW!”

For much of the film, it is uncomfortable watching protagonist Dwight (Macon Blair), and it is relieved only by the occasional comedic morsel. By about half way through though I realised it was fearlessness that the writer had hammered into the lead character. There was no hesitation in the face of an out of control situation, even when combined with his unenviable skills. You want to tell him to stop, to put the catch on, but his actions are the living trajectory of ‘switch-flipped’.

At the opening scene our hero is eating out of a dustbin, bathing in the houses of strangers, and living in an abandoned car in the wilderness. This life is a stuck record of feed and sleep, shelter and scraps. He has nothing, and out of this nothing there is one message, that it’s in the living – with those you love, they are what matter most and in losing the people he loved, he lost everything. It is a familiar theme, but it is handled with expertise by the writer/director.

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Probably not the ‘little place out in the countryside’ he dreamed of

The director also gives some key ideas a breath of fresh air, humanity from the police, the realism of life going on after horrific events, and the tyrannical-criminal family were given to us by a different view point (albeit a clichéd Goonies-style family of criminal misfits). There was finality to the storyline; things were set right, with the young being the new hope. Maybe this was wrenched in a bit, but nevertheless it made for a satisfying end to the film.

When I watch the news – the bad news – sometimes I wonder how people live after tragedy. Blue Ruin shows you what heart-breaking events can do to a man, and gives us a fairy tale from the nihilist’s story book.

– Lou

 

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