Director Jeremy Saulnier has some fun with revenge-thriller clichés and creates a few twists of his own with Blue Ruin, a darkly funny and sometimes quite disturbing showcase for actor Macon Blair. Blair plays Dwight, a homeless man we first see living a meager life in Delaware. He takes baths in other people’s houses, gets his meals from trash bags and lives in his car. In its opening moments, Blue Ruin seems as if it will just be an interesting case study of a dude trying to survive by cashing in soda bottles and eating discarded hamburgers. Then, about five minutes into the movie, a policewoman knocks on Dwight’s car window. No, Dwight isn’t getting hauled in for vagrancy. It turns out the cop is just doing her duty by informing him that the man who allegedly killed his parents is being released early from prison. This sets into motion a revenge story like no other, with a hairy homeless guy returning to his childhood home and making a bunch of people wish they had different last names. Saulnier does a lot with a small budget, shooting a solid-looking movie with some pretty heavy gore effects. No, the movie isn’t wall-to-wall bloodlettings, but the moments where the blood sprays are quite impactful. There’s one particular moment where somebody takes a bullet to the jaw that I won’t soon forget. With Dwight, Blair gives us an original, vengeful character to go alongside the likes of Uma Thurman’s Bride in the Kill Bill movies and Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs. He’s unforgettable, and just a little heartbreaking in the end.
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producer: Anish Savjani, Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Skei Saulnier, Macon Blair, Rosemary Edwards, Eileen McGrath and Karen Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David Thompson, Brent Werzner, Sidne Anderson and Stacy Rock