Revenge thrillers are dishes best served with a Kickstarter
Taut and unpredictable, this little Kickstarter-funded indie gem is a supremely stylish, moody and atypical thriller that belies its ultra-low-budget origins.Introducing us to a cast of unfamiliar faces, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s sophomore directorial effort – after a three year hiatus working exclusively as cinematographer – is a surprisingly accomplished piece of work. It eschews all of the unwanted trappings of a more mainstream affair – like clichéd characters, predictable plots and painful exposition – in favour of refreshingly unusual storytelling and tense, razor-sharp direction.The story follows the seemingly homeless Dwight, an equally seemingly harmless man who eats out of dumpsters, breaks into houses to have a bath every once in a while, and lives out of his broken down old car parked in the middle of nowhere. When the police pick him up one day, that all changes, however; something clicks in Dwight’s mind and he moves into action – to do something that he’s been planning for a very long time.
Labelling Blue Ruin as an unconventional revenge thriller is an understatement; in a sub-genre already heavily overpopulated and simply flowing over with generic, clichéd work, Saulnier strikes out in an effort to deliver something different – and succeeds on every level. Even casting his best friend, the unknown Macon Blair, was a daring choice, but it pays off, with audiences unable to predict who these characters are, or what they are going to do next.
Perhaps it doesn't come up all that often, but every once in a while Kickstarter can deliver genuinely impressive results.
His tale is surprisingly authentic too, perhaps worryingly so, with characters that behave in a natural, genuine fashion, rather than merely springing forth from some contrived script. Whilst nowhere near as stylish as Refn’s Drive, or this year’s big surprise – The Guest – Blue Ruin does somehow manage to tread water in the same part of the pool, ticking the boxes in all the same places: stylish direction, unusual casting and strong performances, and a strong and deeply evocative score to underpin the whole thing. It’s an indisputable gem.
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