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Blue Ruin: Tension Perfected

August 27, 2014

Blue Ruin movie poster

Blue Ruin is a force of nature. Told on a micro-budget the revenge thriller is nothing like all the other revenge thrillers you’ve seen. Blue Ruin plays like a massive stress bomb that comes out of nowhere. The lack of polish and adherence to logic help build simmering suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  The story revolves a bearded homeless man seemingly waiting for an unsavory character to leave prison.  When the criminal is released he goes on an unplanned mission that is full of dread, suspense and blood.

Blue Ruin character

The man is out of his league and often unlucky. He isn’t a killer and because of this the suspense is thick. Each explosion of violence is ugly and sometimes darkly comical. The family he is hunting is a legitimately bad crew that won’t go easy. This is bad for him because he has no clue what he is doing. However, the randomness of it all keeps everyone on their toes. I’d compare it to when a pitcher gets brought up from the minor to major leagues. The batters have no tape on him and have no clue how he will pitch. They will catch on eventually but at the moment he is a wildcard.

Blue Ruin beard

I haven’t watched a film this tense in a long time. You sit there with a grimace on your face as the avenger finds himself in a bloody encounter. There are moments when he literally brings a knife to a gunfight. His actions aren’t treated as unintelligent. They are treated as inexperienced, frightened and in no way planned out. He doesn’t know what he is doing and that makes it exciting. The unpredictability of the situations lead to unexpected finales. Also, the lonely Virginia landscape aids in his mission as long stretches of film rest on scarce locations and Macon Blair’s expressive eyes.

Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin is pure cinema at its finest. Told with long shots that allow tension to build, it slowly finds its way to the bloody finale. There is a depth to the characters and you understand why this is all happening. It may be chock-full of blood but it is spilled in non-gratuitous ways. The film feels organic and elegant even as our helpless hero is bleeding heavily.

Blue Ruin is a fantastic film. Check it out on Netflix.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2014 3:01 pm

    Doesn’t really do much different that we haven’t already seen done in the revenge-thriller sub-genre, but it didn’t need to. It just worked by playing things simple and, well, sweet. Good review.

    • August 27, 2014 3:12 pm

      I loved that he wasn’t slick. It was blue collar to the core. I tire of perfectly executed revenge plans.


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