Blue Ruin (2013)

[6.5]

Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) serves up an attention-worthy revenge tale with Blue Ruin. Macon Blair stars as a loner who let his life fall apart after the double murder of his parents. When the man convicted of the crime is released from prison, Blair enacts his own deadly vigilante justice. But unfortunately, the cycle doesn’t end there. Worried his victim’s family might seek revenge on his sister and her children, Blair decides he must hunt down and kill every last one of his adversary’s brood.

Blue Ruin is a little more sophisticated than it sounds, but I don’t want to get into any spoilers. Blair, an unknown actor prior to this film, carries the piece very well. He’s more in line with Dustin Hoffman’s nervous but compelling character in Straw Dogs than a stereotypical action hero. He’s surrounded by a solid supporting cast as well. Devin Ratray is particularly memorable as an ex-army friend who helps Blair acquire some firearms.

Blue Ruin is not an exploitation movie, so horror/genre fans may be disappointed by a relative lack of visceral thrills and be tested by Saulnier’s deliberate pacing. Those in search of a decent dark drama may enjoy that Saulnier doesn’t rely on stylistic tropes and is able to conjure some genuinely suspenseful moments in his exploration of ‘violence begetting violence.’

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