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Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin

2013 | Jeremy Saulnier

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.

Average rating   7 out of 10

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Benjamin Lykkegaard Schmidt     2021-02-07 7 out of 10

Blue Ruin starts off with our main character, Dwight, being an apparent homeless man living in his worn down blue car (ergo the Blue Ruin). Suddenly a police officer arrives to pick him up and bring to the station. Heres she informs Dwight that the man who killed his parents ten years ago, has just been released from prison. This leads Dwight to seek out revenge on the man who ruined his life. 


At first glance Blue Ruin is a relatively straight forward movie about a man seeking revenge. It has been done many times before. But as the movie proceeds, it quickly becomes obvious that this movie has much more nuance just under the surface. The movie is in itself a very quiet movie. Not many words are said, and sometimes there are long periods of time where you just follow Dwight in complete silence. This can occasionally be a bit boring to watch, but with the combined force of Macon Blairs powerful acting and Jeremy Saulniers beautiful cinematography, it makes it extremely fascinating to watch. Jeremy Saulniers cinematography is very reminiscent of Denis Villeneuve, in the use of stationary wide shots. Jeremy Saulniers beautiful cinematography also takes full advantage of the 2 .35 : 1 aspect ratio which the entire movie is filmed in. It is a visually gorgeuos movie. 


The key words of Blue Ruins storytelling technique are "show it, don't tell it". As I already stated, this is a very quiet movie with an underlaying story. One could argue that the movie is more about the degradation of humanity that Dwight has undergone in the ten years since his parents were murdered. When the movie starts, the viewer is introduced to Dwight as a helpless, homeless man. But as the story proceeds, the viewer starts to figure out, that this is all a conscious choice made by Dwight. The movie shows the viewer (without explicitly describing it), that Dwight is in no means poor and helpless. It turns out he evens owns a house - he just doesn't use it. When he later in the movie has a conversation with his sister for the first time in ten years, she tells him that he is still owed a lot of money - but he doesn't want them. The murder of his parents made Dwight shut out everyone he knew, and eradicated his need to be included in civilized society. All of this is extremely elegantly described to the viewer. But the ten years that Dwight has lived isolated from society has also robbed him of all social skills. Throughout the movie Dwight never attempts to small-talk. He says very little during the movie, and everything he says is always said for a specific reason. He chooses his words carefully and never says too much. This makes it very hard for the viewer to predict and read Dwight, and this makes for an even more entertaining watch. Dwight is the husk of a man, that the viewer is never introduced to. 

Blue Ruin is a gorgeuos but quiet movie, with a loud performance by the combined storytelling forces of Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair. But even the breathtaking cinematography and the elegant storytelling can't save the movie from occasionally become a bit too boring. 





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