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Blue Ruin

Year: 2013
Production Co: The Lab of Madness
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Blair Macon

There's certainly a Hitchockian quality to this revenge thriller in the way it takes its time unspooling what's going on, and if you took any notice of the marketing you'll have seen it referred to as 'slow burn'. The fatal flaw in this case is that the fire never gets above a faint flicker, rendering the whole thing dreadfully dull.

We meet Dwight (Blair Macon) living in a car on the beach, searching through rubbish skips for food and breaking into houses for baths. When a cop comes to visit him early on we're not privy to the whole conversation – just that someone who obviously means a lot to Dwight is out of jail.

It's eventually revealed that the newly released convict killed Dwight's parents, and after shaving and cleaning himself up, he lands on his sister's doorstep after exacting his revenge in a dive bar on the side of a lonely highway.

But the killer seems to be from a family of petty criminals, and they're soon gunning for Dwight by any means necessary, giving him no choice but to send his sister and her kids away and calling on an old friend and gun expert to arm himself for the impending war.

It all takes way too long to get from one turn in the plot to the next, and when it does get there writer/director Jeremy Saulnier seems to think you only need the sun-bleached backbone of the story to follow or be interested. For the life of me I still can't remember why he started out as homeless, or why he went to his sister's house at all.

It doesn't help that Macon Blair is so hatstand both as a character and an actor, never generating the fear or angry drive you'd expect someone intending to kill for vengeance would have. It needed a much richer atmosphere, far more story detail or just a more impassioned approach by both the filmamker and performers.

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