Blue Ruin (2013)

blue ruin poster 2013 review
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Different type of revenge thriller

Intentionally slow paced movie will not be for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Blue Ruin

Studio:  The Lab of Madness

Genre(s):  Drama/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date(s):  May 17, 2013 (Cannes Film Festival)/April 25, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


Well this is going to get ugly

Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) has lived a shattered existence since his parents were killed.  Now, their killer Wade Cleland is getting out of jail and Dwight knows what he must due.  Hunting down and killing Wade, Dwight sets off a chain of events that reignites the war between the families putting Dwight’s sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) and her children in danger.  Dwight realizes it is time to take matters into his own hands and atone for what has happened…one way or another.

Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin was released to critical acclaim.  The movie spiked interest by being funded by a Kickstart campaign and won the International Federation of Film Critics (aka Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique FIPRESCI) at Cannes before receiving a U.S. release in 2014.


Let the shooting begin!

Blue Ruin is aptly described as a “slow burn” thriller.  The movie’s pacing is quite slow and deliberate considering the source material and what is occurring on screen.  Despite lots of violence and death, Blue Ruin works more on suspense and thought than action and guts.

The script for the movie is quite smart.  In a normal action-revenge movie, you are given all the plot pieces and then the person seeking revenge is set loose to kill. Here, you have a vague idea of what has occurred and characters give up bits and pieces of it slowly.  A big reveal is made very casually at the end of the film and not much contemplation to what it means as a whole is revealed.  The viewer is really left open to the idea of “was it worth it” idea of the crime.


Call me Jan Brady one more time!

The casting is also rather odd for a film and shows how small-budget films can sometimes make use of what they have better than big budget films who get to choose their actors.  Macon Blair is an interesting lead in that he’s very, very normal.  He looks like any guy you’d pass on the street and that idea is implied by ending scenes which show that no one knows what happened in a house on a normal street block.  Devin Ratray who plays his friend is the graduate of Home Alone (he played Buzz) and one of Dwight’s victims is Jan Brady herself Eve Plumb.



The movie also looks fantastic.  The framing and the camera work give a slow lethargic feel to the story and surprise you by not catering to the action on the screen.  The tension might be there, but you rarely see it coming when something happens because the movie conditions you to not expect it.

Blue Ruin is a good film but not for everyone.  The humdrum nature of the movie will probably not stand with someone who wants the action of a film like Taken and the drama is subtle for many mainstream audiences.  Early on, the movie sometimes has you questioning if what you are seeing really happened or if it is a fantasy in the mind of the messed up Dwight…sometimes truth is more disturbing than fiction.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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