Blue Ruin (2014): Redefining Revenge Thriller

Stories about revenge have been told since time immemorial, one of the appeals lies in the fact that most of us can not set right the wrongs done by higher authorities to us in our life time.  Be it Mahabharata, Ramayana, Batman etc revenge has played an important role in all these stories. Blue Ruin is a revenge story, but actually it has redefined this genre.

We are introduced to vagabond Dwight who stays in a rusted car, and scrapes for food from garbage cans and uses other people’s home for bathing.  Dwight soon receives a message, which is connected to his past. Soon we see Dwight rushing to his hometown with an aim, to set things right. Dwight is not a man with a plan; his actions are solely based on his anger and hatred, without any reason.

As he achieves his purpose, he realises that instead of liberating him, it has led him into even deeper cesspool of darkness.  Just one act of desperation leads him to realise his follies and implications of his actions which will be dangerous to not only him, but also his family members.

blue-ruinDwight is not a man who is your normal superhero who can kill 50 people at a time, he is one of us, most importantly he has lost many years of his life due to a tragedy, and he has run away from his obligations. He feels his one act may make his life more meaningful, but it is not the case.

The Brilliance of Jeremy Saulnier is that he takes a clichéd story, but strips it down to bare minimum and gives us black comedy cum revenge drama. He makes you feel that this would be another run of the mill revenge drama, and when you think you are right, he changes the tide completely and takes us into a new direction. I feel he is one of the American film makers to look forward to, hope he does not go and direct superhero movies.  He has also written and handled the cinematography of the movie. The way he emphasizes importance on car key, or the banner ‘welcome home wade’ and the brilliant home invasion scene, where Dwight waits for his nemesis shows his hallmark on how he creates tension and sustains it across the length of the movie. Jeremy shows the repercussions of human action, which film maker rarely touch in revenge films.


The film addresses an important question of how human beings are bereft of compassion, when emotions overcome and at the end of the day compassion is better than retribution in the name of justice.

I have not watched any earlier works of Macon Blair, but he is the soul of the film. Appearing in two different get ups in the film where most of the screen time he does not have any dialogue, he is among the very few actors of a rare breed, who do not act, but react.

Blue Ruin I feel will be a trendsetter, in the coming years it will gain a cult status. Blue Ruin is America’s Old Boy.

I have deliberately not discussed the plot detail as it would spoil the fun if you have not watched the movie, let me assure you that this is one gem of a film which you should not miss this year.




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