Jeremy Saulnier, director of “Blue Ruin” is definitely someone to follow. Already noticed with “Murder Party”, this ex-cinematographer delivers here his second film. Funded partly by the crowdfunding (financial participation of Internet users), the film stays out of the indie-arty, thrillers, revenge and road trip movies clichés. It delivers an unclassifiable weird but precise movie, violent and poetic, led by the ultimate anti-hero: we loved it.
First of all, it is well filmed: you think about Jeff Nichols (The US countryside filmed with a beautiful light), the Cohen Brothers (the thriller of nonsense) and even Tarantino (super bloody revenge film with a nerdy humor). But the comparisons end here as this film stands out and creates its own style.
Extremely well-paced especially for the first part of the film, Saulnier alternates shocking shots with extreme close-ups on his main character and always interesting view angles.
All this combined with a more unusual screenplay than what the pitch promises:
Dwight (Macon Blair) is a homeless and his life changes when he learns the release of a double murderer. In order to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that this will entail a deadly battle between two families.
Beyond revenge, the film raises up the question of the bearing of arms in America but not in an unsubtle way because it’s well brought up by the story. In some aspects, it even made me think of a western movie where order does not exist and everyone “protects” themselves with using their own weapons. It also deals with the persecutor/ victim relationship. Indeed, the film forces us to identify and to support a man who for some unknown reasons at the beginning of the film, is about to kill a man.
Scary moments are followed by moments of grace, touching scenes coupled with an almost perpetual tension and lead by a perfect cast.
In particular, the lead actor and longtime friend of the director, Macon Blair, embodies both; an idle man you feel sorry for but at the same time a murderer with a certain awkwardness. His extremely expressive face and physical presence make him very strange: between a psychopath and gentle almost childlike man for whom you have a lot of compassion. The actor’s performance is great, disturbing, something you’ve never seen before. You are knocked down, you identify yourself and you reject him. You wander following him and the director, sometimes without understanding where to. Moreover his clumsy side adds suspense because you know that anything can happen. You are even afraid he might die before the end of the movie, even if he is the main character! And among all this, the director manages to add a touch of humor.
This film is also more realistic than thrillers you usually see which makes it more credible, scarier and its message resonates louder.
In fact, this film is very hard to review as it doesn’t fit into any movie categories. Between violence, lightness, nonsense, you follow the lunar main character in the trap that encloses on him, in other words to the endless race of violence perpetrated by these weapons so easily accessible in the US.
This film is unclassifiable and for the best! This is definitely the movie to see this summer!
In short, you have to remember those names: Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair. We can’t wait to see what their next projects will be.
July 13, 2014