Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Blue Ruin


This is the kind of movie I really love. It stars no one you know. Jeremy Saulnier wrote, directed, and shot it. (Most of his credits at the IMDb are for cinematography.) He is so new he doesn’t even have a Wiki page. It is very low-budget; he funded it through Kickstarter. It won a prize at Cannes, and now that he has gotten some notice, he’s working on a larger film, Green Room, with people whose names are a lot more famous, like Patrick Stewart and Imogen Poots.

It’s the kind of movie that transcends its low budget and in fact makes that a strength in a way that a $100,000,000 thriller with marquee names can never have, because with that big budget comes the input of about fifty assholes who will insist that it be dumbed down. Here, Saulnier can write it the way he wants it, and never insult the audience.

Dwight is a raggedy-ass man who is living in his rustbucket hooptie by the beach. He is there because a man murdered both his parents ten years ago, and he couldn’t handle it. Now the killer is getting out of jail, and he can’t handle that, either. He sets out to kill him.

And you just know how this would play out if it starred Tom Cruise or Clint Eastwood or Denzel Washington. I’ll bet you can even write the final scene, where Tom or Clint or Denzel has to fight it out man to man with the deranged killer. Believe me, this story is nothing like that. Dwight is an ordinary person, like you or me. He is not stupid, and he is not super-bright, and he does some smart things and he does some things that are not so smart. In other words, he does about as good a job of it as you or I would. Plus, things are not exactly what they seem. This is one of the best little movies of the year.