Thursday, November 17, 2016

5 things to love about Blue Ruin (2013)

What’s it about:
Macon Blair plays Dwight, a man so emotional crippled by deaths of his parents he has been living out of his car by the beach for years. When he learns that his parents’ killer Wade Cleland is being released from jail he decided to take the law into his own hands and kill him. However, Dwight is way, way out of his depth and cannot quite understand the circle of violence he’s started.

5 things to love:
1. The film has a refreshingly un-macho atmosphere considering it sort of belongs in the vigilante/thriller territory. Dwight isn’t Charles Bronson. He’s just an ordinary guy who reacts, screws up and gets hurt just as anyone would. It makes the whole movie a really tense experience because his character is so fragile and unskilled. He’s expertly played by Macon Blair.*

2. The other great performance is Devin Ratray (Buzz from Home Alone!) who plays Dwight gun-toting childhood friend. He’s perfectly cast and does a great job with just a handful of scenes. The quiet, low-key way he helps out Dwight is really touching – not because they seem like great friends, but because he just seems to want to do anything to feel alive.

3. Although the film is very downbeat it’s peppered with moments of dark comedy. For instance, Dwight confesses to his sister in a roadside diner that he’s just murdered someone and gets interrupted by a guy on the opposite table who asks him to pass the ketchup. It’s the kind of humour that accentuates the mundanity of murder.

4. The film’s best sequence is the sparse, wordless opening 20 minutes where we follow Dwight around his ‘normal’ routine – eating out of dumpsters, selling cans, breaking into houses to have a bath etc. The film similarly concludes on a wordless series of sequences where Dwight sits around a house waiting for his enemies to come to him. It gives the film a nice symmetry.

5. The film has great washed out, blue cinematography throughout which really sets the tone, highlighting the cold, uncaring world the characters inhabit.

1 thing it didn’t need:
Honestly, it was really hard to find fault with this one. I guess, the only point I can think of (and it is nit-picking) is that the film didn’t quite have enough plot for 90 minutes and either needed something more or 10 minutes less.
* Don’t think about how much he looks like Joe Lo Truglio from Brooklyn Nine Nine or it may ruin the film. Luckily I didn’t realise until after.

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