May 5, 2014

VOD Review: Blue Ruin (2014)

When we first heard about Blue Ruin -which was being billed as a Revenge Thriller- we immediately thought of another recent, gritty Revenge Thriller, Red, White & Blue; not that their plots are all that similar, but because both films are set around a derelict man who is out for bloody revenge, so our minds just automatically made that leap. In Red, White & Blue, Nate gets his revenge, and then some.

Blue Ruin though is a different animal altogether. Where as RW&B was gritty and straightforward, Blue Ruin is more contemplative and twisty with its narrative, and its main character is by no means a killing machine. He tries like hell, and has plenty of success along the way, but that success comes with more clunky mistakes than it does finesse. Blue Ruin is more about the concept of revenge, and how its fallout effects people, both directly and indirectly.

So, similar, and yet completely different. 

Blue Ruin tells the story of Dwight, a homeless shell of a man who has had a rough life. The brutal murders of his parents drove Dwight to live out of his old jalopy (which we're assuming is the Blue Ruin), quit shaving, and eat out of garbage cans. He's empty and broken, and quite possibly a bit insane.

And a bit creepy.
When Dwight learns that the man who murdered his parents is being released from prison, and odd focus comes over him, and he heads off to kill the man; almost as if he had put his entire life on hold for the entire time waiting for the very chance to do so.

Well, it looks like somebody died.
To say anymore of about the plot or how it unfolds would do the film a great disservice, but suffice it to say that as Dwight puts his plan for revenge into motion, things get really bad for him, and everyone else involved in his sad story of revenge, to the point of ruin... Blue Ruin!
Lone Wolf McDwight.
As a meditation on violence, and the effects it has on our lives, Blue Ruin is a haunting and dark piece of work. As a Revenge Thriller, Blue Ruin is gritty and real in its portrayal of a bumbling, would-be avenging angel. Either way, the movie is a very nuanced and intense experience, and at times, that tension was almost unbearable.

Does Dwight get his revenge? Yes, kind of. The point of the movie though, is about the price that revenge costs someone, and we're not just talking about Dwight here; his parent's deaths were born of revenge; he wants revenge; the people who he gets revenge on want revenge... it's a sick cycle that can only really be broken when someone says "alright, enough with the revenge!"

It's that entire dynamic that made Blue Ruin so compelling.

Even these little kids want revenge... where does it end?!?
Blue Ruin is a movie whose goings-on would fit perfectly into the fictional world of Elmore Leonard's Harlan County, if you look at Dwight as a guy with the heart of Raylan Givens and the abilities of Constable Bob, and the Cleland family as either the Crowes or Bennetts. Odd analogy, I know, but with the deep south vibe of this thing, it just struck us as fitting.

Macon Blair did a hell of a job as Dwight. As a character, Dwight seemed so sweet and unassuming, but then every so often he'd get these flashes of rage that ran through is eyes, and he became truly frightening. We don't really know who this Macon Blair guy is, but after Blue Ruin, we're sure we'll be seeing more of him.

We didn't like the ending. It was good, and more than fitting, but we just wanted things to... work out better than they did. Yes we're being vague, but when you see it for yourself, you'll know what we mean.

"The keys are in the car" says it all, I think.

What in the blue hell...
If anything about the movie disappointed us, or threw us off a bit, it would have to be when Dwight shaved his beard and got himself cleaned up. He was truly frightening to behold at the start of the movie, but once he went and got his hair did, he just seemed like a regular guy... which was probably the point.

Still, the change threw us, because it wasn't even hinted at in the trailer.

She can't believe it either.
When the gore hits in this one, it hits hard. Some throat slitting, some shootings, an extremely hard to watch scene where a guy digs a crossbow bolt out of his leg, and our favorite bit involving a sniper rifle... Blue Ruin has is bloody moments indeed.

Yes, that is Jan Brady, and she's apparently gone fully auto.
If you're looking for a Revenge Thriller that's about way more than mere revenge, then Blue Ruin is the movie for you. This is a movie about the effects of violence as much as it is the violence itself, and it will make you think as much as it does cringe. For our money, it doesn't get much better than that.

This is a good flick, and at $6.99 on VOD, it's almost too good to pass up.

Blue Ruin is available now on VOD (HERE), and in Limited Theatrical Release.


We felt that the alternate poster art for Blue Ruin was so cool that we just had to share it with you, because nothing is better than visually evocative art. Mostly.


  1. I'm currently working on a beard like that. Almost there. One more month, maybe...