Premise: Without giving too much away, the movie starts out as homeless guy Dwight (Macon Blair) is set on getting revenge on a guy being released from prison who did something bad to his family years ago. The rest of the movie is about Dwight defending himself and evening scores while being kind of a hilariously semi-inept amateur assassin who doesn’t *quite* know what he’s doing.
-The first 25 minutes are really intriguing. And the protagonist’s first act beard is spectacular.
-It is funny/realistic how bad Dwight is at murdering people. It probably wouldn’t be super simple to just stab some big dude and call it a day. But I also liked how he was terrible at the whole process of trying to find a murder weapon, and I laughed pretty hard when he couldn’t even slash a tire correctly (this isn’t a comedy, by the way). It’s probably how crappy I would be at everything this guy was doing, too. Not that I personally plan on killing anybody… …Serenity now!
-Please keep casting (now adult) Buzz from Home Alone in things. He’s awesome.
-You give me muted color palettes with bursts of super crisp bright colors scattered throughout, and I will give you a giant thumbs up.
-Same goes for the perfect low-key (semi electronic) soundtrack.
-The 30 seconds of screen time spent showing him chugging water just so he could pee on a gravestone made me laugh.
-I listed to an interview with the director (Jeremy Saulnier) on a podcast, and he seems like a cool dude. Just saying, I guess. He had to borrow $25k from his family and earn another $35k on Kickstarter to get the film made. There’s actually a lot of interesting things about the financing and production of Blue Ruin, like how they had to create a last-minute IMDb page for the lead actor (because he didn’t have one yet) so that investors wouldn’t be like, “Who is this guy?” And the director was also the cinematographer so he could save money by not actually hiring a cinematographer. This is kind of one of those awesome indie movies where the “making of” is almost more interesting to hear about than actually watching the movie itself. But ya know, if the movie wasn’t good, no one would care about how it was made to begin with (The Room excluded), so there’s a nice complement.
-One other note about the lead actor (who does a fine job, btw); if you’re going to cast a guy who looks and acts exactly like Joe Lo Truglio, you might as well just cast Joe Lo Truglio. He also kind of looks like he could be Nathan Lane’s half-brother. Look at Nathan Lo Truglane, over here!
-It’s kind of *just* stylistically minimalist enough to be really entertaining on a first viewing, but also *just* bare-minimalist enough to probably not be that great on repeat viewings. Like, I’m not sure how much more it has to give after you’ve seen it already. I watched this a few days ago, and it has already started to slip from my brain, which isn’t a great sign for its longevity, either. But, again, I can’t deny it being a pretty good one time watch.
Final Thoughts: It has all the gruesome face exploding, shotgun blasting, and failed self-surgery to make this the *PERFECT* family film to watch on Christmas morning! I think ABC Family is doing a revenge movie marathon this year (Blue Ruin, Kill Bill, Leon: The Professional, Cape Fear, Death Wish, Oldboy, I Spit on Your Grave). Should go over well with the 2-11 demographic.
8 out of 10