Netflix. That collection of digital entertainment where television series and bad movies go to retire.
Netflix. That collection of digital entertainment where a patient subscriber can find the occasional gem.
Last weekend I watched Blue Ruin. I had read the AVClub review of the film and knew it had received some critical love. Sign me up!
Blue Ruin is a revenge film. Many revenge films are stylized and done with the visual flair of an auteur. Blue Ruin is quiet, darkly humorous, and quite depressing.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin stars Macon Blair as Dwight. He’s no Charles Bronson or Uma Thurman. He’s small in stature and speaks barely above a whisper.
Dwight is a introduced as a homeless man living in a beater car park by a beach in Delaware. He lives a sad, despondent existence. For 15 minutes, hardly a word is spoken as we follow Dwight digging through garbage for food and breaking into people’s homes to steal a bath.
All this character background pays off throughout the rest of the film.
A kindly police officer visits Dwight and shares the news that the man convicted of the murder of Dwight’s mother and father is being released from prison.
Dwight cleans up. It’s a startling transformation. He wants revenge, and that means he wants to kill the man who killed his parents.
The film is unflinching in showing how pathetic Dwight is as a person. A particularly harsh scene occurs where his sister tells him he is weak. Despite being pathetic, Dwight is determined and endures much pain and fear to accomplish his goals. He has nothing to lose and is not afraid to die. Much of the dark humor spins from this fatalism. Dwight disables a car only to have to use it for a getaway (in his anger he stabbed a tire with a knife that nearly cuts his hand off). He’s shot in the leg with an arrow and there’s a great scene in a pharmacy where Dwight buys needle, thread, pliers, rubbing alcohol, and bandages (the self-surgery…way less amusing).
Blue Ruin shows how dangerous a person can be when they have nothing left to lose. Dwight could be a character straight out of a Coen Brothers film. Hapless, quirky, lacking in respect, but dangerous.
In fact, this film compares well with several Coen Brothers movies (one of the highest compliments I can give as I am a worshiper of their work).
Check it out. Blue Ruin.
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