Blue Ruin is an atypical revenge film. In most revenge films, the protagonist is a highly trained super soldier of some sort. Or maybe a skilled martial arts expert with deadly skills. Not so for the protagonist of Blue Ruin, Dwight (played by Macon Blair.)
Dwight is a shell of a man. He is virtually homeless; living out of his car, sleeping on the beach and eating out of garbage cans. The film alludes to his father’s murder as the cause of this, but never explicitly states it.
Early in the film, the police track Dwight down, informing him of the imminent release of his father’s convicted murder. Dwight cleans himself up, goes to the prison and witnesses the murderer’s release. Dwight follows the murderer and his family to a bar. Dwight goes into the restroom and waits for the murder. On an impulse, Dwight stabs the murderer in the head, killing him. This sets off a chain of consequences which not only affect Dwight, but the rest of his family as well.
Dwight may have killed his father’s murderer on impulse, but he realizes that he is in way over his head. Dwight soon learns the family of the murdered murderer are coming after his sister and her two kids for revenge. The film explores what would happen to a normal, average (or even less-than-average) person who takes it upon himself to exact revenge. Dwight is not a super soldier, he does not have access to a cache of military-grade weapons and a seemingly endless supply ammunition. He doesn’t have enough money to purchase a firearm and has to settle for knife instead. He doesn’t posses spectacular unarmed or edged weapon fighting skills (or any for that matter, killing the murder was an ostensible stroke of luck.) There are serious consequences for his actions and much of the film derives tension from whether or not Dwight will be able to survive the onslaught of the murdered man’s family and their need to avenge the murder of the murderer.
Look for a cameo from Eve Plumb (Jan from TV’s The Brady Bunch.)
Worth a look if you like believable, gritty, realistic films which deal with the real-world consequences of exacting revenge.
Skip it if you like your revenge films about ‘roided up super soldiers with automatic weapons mowing down a legion of bad guys with little to no consequences for their actions.
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