Blue Ruin ★★★★½

I've heard a lot about this low-budget revenge thriller recently; it's been mentioned quite a few times in discussions revolving around the best films of the decade so far, and so I'm glad to have finally watched it.

While I'm not yet sure if I'd put it up there as one of the absolute best films of recently memory, "Blue Ruin" is nevertheless an excellent film, and one I'd recommend to anyone who likes the kind of violent revenge film that has been overpopulating the market recently. It's kind of like "God Bless America" or "Hobo With a Shotgun", but it's far less indulgent in its violence and a lot more character-driven.

Central to the story is Dwight Evans (Macon Blair), a homeless man who finds out that the man who killed his parents has been released from prison. You can fill in the rest of the blanks with the word "revenge", though it's a revenge slightly different from a lot of the ones we've seen recently.

"Blue Ruin" is without self-righteousness and low on style, instead slowly revealing details about Dwight, his family, and the family of his target through minimal dialogue and matter-of-fact actions. The film doesn't really imply that Dwight's actions are right; it's just something he has to do.

Blair's performance is more about expression; he rarely talks and so the brunt of the film's thematic essence flows through his eyes, wide open most of the time. He's not good at revenge, but it's something he has to do to protect his family. He enlists an old gun nut friend (played by Devin Ratray, also known for playing Buzz in "Home Alone") to help him learn basic shooting skills, and gets most of his supplies scavenging in houses while the owners are away.

"Blue Ruin" might be a bit slow for some based on the lack of in-your-face action, yet it's actually very efficient, finishing its story without any (important) hangover questions in a brisk 90 minutes. It's a wholly new take on a genre we see far too much of these days; not bad for a crowdfunded movie.