For Reel

Blue Ruin (2013)
December 8, 2014, 8:03 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Jeremy Saulnier
4 Stars
Blue RuinOften in Blue Ruin, the solitary bum turned avenger (Macon Blair) deliberates how to resolve the chain of events that he’s become wrapped up in. He’s desperate for an escape, only it seems impossible–every new death leads to more widows, children, and relatives out seeking vengeance. It’s a remarkable revenge thriller in that way. Violence is committed by fairly unremarkable men, clumsily and without any sense of heroism. The eye-for-an-eye mentality provokes the chaos that results–vengeance is a poisonous a cycle that can never be broken. When Blair confesses a murder to his sister, she tells him, “I’d forgive you if you were crazy, but you’re not. You’re weak.” Director Jeremy Saulnier finds some of this amusing in the way that the Coen brothers would. Traditional action movie elements, like cleaning up a wound without professional medical help, are shown with pathetic realism. Occasionally, the presumed threats are merely examples of the ordinary, like a lamp running on a timer. Blair is perfectly cast as the protagonist. Although he looks potentially harmful with a long, straggly beard and unwashed clothes, for most of the picture he’s clean-shaven. He’s a baby-faced man with nervous, childlike eyes. His panic is palpable, and Saulnier masterfully capitalizes on the actor’s strengths with his patient, attentive camerawork.

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