Zoë from The Sporadic Chronicles Of A Beginner Blogger is here today with her review of Blue Ruin for my ‘Recommended By’ blogathon. Read on for her great review, and of course check out her site if you don’t already.
So when Tyson started up his Recommended By blogathon, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get off my butt and watch some movies that have been suggested to me over time and that I keep saying I will get to. Needless to say, the list is inordinately long. Looking over it and thinking on my choices, I ultimately settled for Blue Ruin, seeing as the general consensus seemed to be that it was excellent. What was I basing this assumption on? My dearest Chop Eric, the awesome Scotsman Mark, and horror news king Ryan. I trust them all implicitly. Plus I had to see what Eric would rank so highly that didn’t have any boobs in it, even though it ticked all the boxes for blood!
SYNOPSIS: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. – via IMDB
Needless to say, I was rewarded. Blue Ruin is not a particularly long movie, which in itself is no problem. I could immediately tell that while there were no racks to perve over for Eric, the big ticket winner was that there was minimal speech. Not as little as Drive (2011), per se, but enough to be noted for little speech. The film was shot beautifully, it was just stunning to look at, and the tension that was built was done so absolutely wonderfully. It was careful, and a slow burn, but never and not once boring. There were tons of times where I found that while I was watching I had tensed up considerably, and had to remind myself to relax.
The story unfolds at precisely the right pace – slowly and with purpose. It is not hesitant and does not hold anything back, but lays the foundation and the building blocks with finesse, never losing you along the way, and it was well worth it. Starting with a depressed homeless man, we learn that he is rather resourceful and intelligent, and soon later that he is homeless by choice, not because there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. Macon Blair delivered an undeniably awesome performance as Dwight – I pitied him, I identified with him, yet at the same time I figured he must be just a little unstable upstairs, despite what his sister had to say about his mental state. Blair successfully carried this film, he was such an integral character, and he dominated it.
The score worked well, too, and it was great because the music was never the core of any of it, though Little Willie John’s No Regrets stands out for me here, it was perfectly used. The story is a revenge story, sure, but it is not necessarily a predictable one, which worked heavily in the favour of the film here. Also, Macon Blair is not extremely well known or Clark Kent looking or anything like that, and this is not being marketed as an action-revenge ass-kicking type of film, but focuses more on the character and the events than the boobs and the explosions. I liked that. It gave it character and a more serious tone to it that could not be denied.
Devin Ratray played Ben Gaffney, Dwight’s closest and oldest friend. He was really good at what he did, and provided some humour to the film (even when things got a little crazy, he still had me laughing – and who knew, this movie was really deep and dark, humour took a backseat, which is fine by me). Not saying there was no humour, it’s just the little bit that was sprinkled in was pretty heavy and dark, which was perfect. The way Ben stood by Dwight, no matter what, was touching, and it underscored the fact that Dwight lives his life the way he does through choice, not because he is honestly alone. Blue Ruin takes us on a journey in Dwight’s shoes, and it is an important one, something that keeps you hooked and thrilled, and Blair’s subtle performance has you rooting for him from the moment he is on screen.
Watching Dwight hunt was something, too, as it slowly but surely uncovered much more of his character, and he was really interesting, for me. Overall, I am glad I pushed this to the top of my watch list, and I would highly recommend you do the same if you have not yet watched it. It is subtle, it is a slow burn, it is superbly acted and wonderfully shot, Blue Ruin is certainly something I can see myself watching again, what a wonderful gem.