A classic American revenge story, Blue Ruin follows a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.

Vanguard

Blue Ruin

Jeremy Saulnier

Dwight, a scruffy vagrant, lives by the beach, scavenges for food in dumpsters, and sleeps in a rusty old car. His seemingly aimless existence is interrupted when he learns of a man's release from prison. Dwight transforms overnight and his life purpose snaps into focus as he returns to his Virginia hometown to face his past.

Set against the lush and misty Virginia countryside, Blue Ruin is a stark, brutal story that unfolds more as a complex character piece than an exploitation film — an intense, eye-for-an-eye revenge drama and a meditation on family, religion, and American gun culture that never degenerates into a one-sided morality tale.

After a promising debut with the clever 2007 horror-comedy Murder Party, filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier spent several years honing his skills as a cinematographer (Putty Hill, Septien, See Girl Run) before returning to the director's chair. His latest work marks the arrival of a strong storyteller, reminiscent of the discovery of the Coen Brothers with Blood Simple.

Macon Blair, last seen at Midnight Madness in 2012's Hellbenders, gives a deeply nuanced performance as Dwight, who is neither a clear-cut hero nor a villain, but a complex and unlikely protagonist compelled to follow his path to its end, no matter the consequences. Blue Ruin is a deliberately paced, unrelentingly tense story of a man locked in a cycle of bloody vengeance.

COLIN GEDDES

Screenings

Thu Sep 05

Scotiabank 10

Industry
9:30pm
Mon Sep 09

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
8:00pm
Wed Sep 11

TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Regular
12:00pm