Revenge According to Dwight
Jeremy Saulnier's first feature film as a director, the horror-comedy Murder Party (2007), saw a group of young people embark on a wild blood bath, with the pretext of creating art. This wasn't Saulnier's first foray into ironic genre cinema, however. By the age of 12, he and friend Macon Blair, with whom he shares this passion, had already tried their hand shooting super 8 films together. With their latest collaboration Blue Ruin, a revenge movie spiced up with an exhilarating brand of dark humor, Saulnier reveals Blair to be an outstanding actor, offering his childhood friend a gem of a character, a memorable antihero.
Dwight, a shabby loner, rendered asocial by the murder of his parents, is told one day that the culprit is about to be released from prison and proceeds to carry out the vengeance that has obsessed him for years. But he reveals himself to be an insecure weakling, unprepared and dangerously incapable when handling a weapon.
The anxious Dwight, in over his head in a brutal game he's not cut out for, is reminiscent of William H. Macy's character in the Coen brothers' Fargo. Dwight's own ordeal however, reveals an increasing ability to adapt, forced upon him by the need to protect his remaining family.
With its extensive display of weapons brandished by lunatics and clumsy amateurs, Blue Ruin cunningly reflects on the failures of gun control in the United States. Shot with a reduced sized crew in the state of Virginia where Saulnier and Blair grew up, and partially financed by the filmmaker and his family, this highly enjoyable genre bender handles a fair share of believable violence in an opportunely playful way. Unexpected changes of tone and rhythm carry the viewer, disbelieving, on a rollercoaster ride of arresting thrills and guffaws of laughter.Aurélie Godet