Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson, Brent Werzner, Stacy Rock, Sidné Anderson
Written by: Jeremy Saulnier
Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, and language
Running Time: 90
Date: 04/25/2014
IMDB

Blue Ruin (2014)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lone Car

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeremy Saulnier's recent Green Room was one of the most satisfying genre films of 2016, and so I wanted a chance to check out his equally satisfying earlier feature, the crime story Blue Ruin (2013). In it, a bearded, homeless man called Dwight (Macon Blair) collects bottles on the beach and sleeps in his beat-up, blue Pontiac. A cop approaches and solemnly informs him that Wade Cleland, the man who killed Dwight's father, has just been released from prison. Dwight immediately decides to get revenge. Rather than the entire movie focusing on this one act, it happens rather quickly, and rather clumsily, in a bar bathroom, with a knife.

From there, Dwight realizes that the rest of the Cleland family will be after him, especially given that, in his hasty escape, he left behind his car keys. He wants to protect his sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) and her kids from the Cleland's retribution, and thus begins a transformation into a cunning, if still amateur, hunter. Saulnier, who acted as his own cinematographer, gives the movie a very striking look and feel, with pale light and middle distances, a tense sound design, and information cleverly withheld just out of sight. This movie is one of those small crime classics like Blood Simple or One False Move that is just waiting to be discovered.

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