Though it starts off quite promising BLUE RUIN devolves into a muddled narrative and an equally bewildering tone.
With that said, the film won the FIPRECI International Critics Prize at 2013’s Cannes Film Festival, so it clearly has its fans. On top of that, it has scored high marks from the critics (Rotten Tomatoes has it at 93% fresh).
The story follows Dwight (Macon Blair), a drifter seemingly lost in the world. He’s informed that the man who brutally murdered his parents is being set free from prison on a technicality and he decides to take justice into his own hands.
At its core, BLUE RUIN has a simple premise that if Writer/Director Jeremy Saulnier stuck to, would have been compelling. That is a focused look at revenge and how it affects the individuals before and after.
But the issue I have with the film is one of tone. What starts as stark and gritty becomes intentionally comic at times reminding me of FARGO in a lot of ways. But what made FARGO work was its deft balance of the darkness and the absurdity. I never felt that BLUE RUIN ever reached that plateau. It’s as if they teased at it but never actually went for it. Unfortunately for me, it greatly hampered my enjoyment. As the film progressed, it got looser and looser and I begin to lose interest.
I give the film credit for presenting an atypical narrative but the twisty revelations about who is actually guilty and who is most deserved of Dwight’s retribution seem more contrivances than organic storytelling.
I know I am in the minority with this and with that being said, you might want to still see the movie and make up your own opinion. I don’t profess to be the end all, be all when it comes to what makes a movie great. I just know what I like and what movies excite me.
I even gave BLUE RUIN a better shot than most films I see. Not only did I see it in a theater but also I avoided the trailers and reviews so I could see it with a fresh perspective. Even with all that I wasn’t as engaged as I hope.
Let me know if you see it and what you think. I’ll happily admit when I’m wrong. Knowing me, I’ll probably even revisit BLUEE RUIN at some point in the future.