Blue Ruin does a great job of masking how little it has to say about the bloodshed it deals in. An arthouse revenge thriller in the key of Southern gothic, it follows Dwight (Macon Blair), a Virginian living on the fringes who hesitantly re-enters society to track down his father’s murderer after the killer is released from prison. At times, Dwight comes across as a superhero (or -villain) in the first act of his origin story: There’s some dark power within him that he’s afraid to unleash. He fears his capacity for violence as well as his inability to effectively dole it out to those he deems guilty, a curious contradiction that informs Jeremy Saulnier’s film as a whole. The writer-director seems to want it both ways: to appear wary of violence yet also ready to put our base brutality on graphic display. Blue Ruin is a moody and tense depiction of a blood feud’s endgame, but it falls short of its deeper, seemingly self-appointed task of showing how Dwight’s repressed rage irrevocably alters anyone unlucky enough to be standing nearby—especially himself.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Monday, April 28, 2014
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: C+
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