Blue Ruin feels like a feature-length version of the suspenseful, often silent showdowns found within understated thrillers. I’m thinking Coen Bros specifically – the climax of Blood Simple, or the hotel showdown between Chirgurh and Moss in No Country for Old Men. Executed right, these scenes practically define the cliché “on the edge of one’s seat” thanks to detail, clarity, surprises and, most importantly, a sense of frail humanity. The success of these scenes – and Blue Ruin – relies on a physical connection between the audience and the events on-screen, a plausible fragility.
Blue Ruin needs to sustain itself beyond tense confrontations and suspenseful showdowns, and it does so with a minimalist narrative constructed on bedrock of revenge and twisted familial loyalty. Perhaps too minimal, to be honest; the film is at its best in the early scenes as it portions out plot details like a thin gruel, but when the entire story is unveiled it doesn’t quite justify the wait.
The narrative is almost beside the point. Violence begets violence begets violence and the reasons are unsatisfying by necessity. The film, thankfully, is entirely satisfying, with restrained but engaging pacing and a sympathetic, mournful performance from Macon Blair in the lead.
4 thoughts on “Blue Ruin (2013)”
The type of revenge-tale that doesn’t need to do much of anything different to work. Good review.
Yeah, it’s like a revenge tale stripped right down to the bone – for better and for worse (though mostly better). Cheers
Nice review buddy. I liked this one a bit more than you, but hell man, I’m just glad you gave it a chance and then took the time to review it. More people should see this one, in my opinion. I absolutely loved it.
Thanks! I thought that I would be in love with this film from the buzz I was hearing – minimalist thriller etc – and found myself just “in like” with instead. I sort of wish there’d been either more or less to it, if that makes sense. I’d definitely recommend everyone check it out, though.