It’s better to burn out than rust
Genre – Drama > Crime
Run Time – 90 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 7 Wins & 15 Nominations
Amazon – £5.99 DVD £6.99 Blue Ray
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The big Vegas casinos never use mirrors as they want Blue collar Americans to feel like James Bond when they stride to the tables ready for some macho gambling. They don’t want you to see your reflection, reminding you of your chubby waste line, the likewise wife and your boring dead-end job. Blue Ruin takes that guy who best not catch his reflection in the mirror (lets face it, we all hate that) and throws him into an alien world of violence, revenge and killing in this above average low budget crime drama.
‘Blue Ruin’ is the Deep South slang for ‘tragedy’ and the fourth film from director Jeremy Saulnier, who is not best known for the Green Room (2016). He was not a rich man through some TV work and his first two movies and so chose to crowd fund Blue Ruin, pulling in $430,000 dollars through kickstarter. He didn’t get his money back as this rather enjoyable crime noir pulled only $393,435 back from just a seven cinema release but enough here to suggest we have a real talent to explode onto the scene with more access to funding. He reminds me a bit of Nuneaton boy Gareth Edwards, whose distinctive and low budget Sci-Fi movie Monsters quickly led to greater things, that of the Raid movies and none other than the billion dollar responsibility of Star Ware: Rogue One. Saulnier is definitely a talent to watch out for and Blue Ruin featuring on many films critics top 20 list in 2013. I’m good at picking winners.
Macon Blair ... Dwight
Devin Ratray ... Ben Gaffney
Amy Hargreaves ... Sam
Kevin Kolack ... Teddy Cleland
Eve Plumb ... Kris Cleland (Sister)
David W. Thompson ... William
Brent Werzner ... Carl Cleland
Stacy Rock ... Hope Cleland (Cousin)
Sidné Anderson ... Officer Eddy
Sandy Barnett ... Wade Cleland, Jr.
Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) used to have his own place and a decent I.T job in the state of Virginia. When his parents are murdered by a stranger it’s all too much and after the trial and conviction he takes off and now lives out of his car on the Delaware coast. One day a local police officer who knows Dwight through his bad habits of dumpster diving taps on his windshield and informs him that Wade Cleland (Sandy Barnett), the man who did the brutal killing, is to be released from prison early. Dwight immediately knows what has to be done and drives to the prison and watches the Cleland’s collect Wade from the main gate.
Following Wade and his extended family to a celebration at a club, he sneaks into he restroom and takes his chance and, after a fight for his life, fatally stabs Wade in the neck, who bleeds out and dies. Revenge has been taken. Dropping his car keys in the club in a panic, Dwight steals the Clelands' limousine and drives away, but discovering a teenage boy, William Cleland (David W. Thompson), in the back. He lets him go as he has no beef with him. But the kid has seen the killer.
After losing the beard, cutting his hair short and dumping his tatty clothing, Dwight visits his sister (Amy Hargreaves) in Virginia to break the news. Sam is shocked but also glad he has done the deed, amazed that her meek brother had it in him. As the killing has gone unreported on the news, Dwight surmises that the Clelands have decided to seek revenge without police involvement. Sam flees her home with her daughters and Dwight waits in her house for the Clelands' attack. It won’t take long to trace his car to the house. The Clelands arrive in that car and Dwight surprises himself by injuring two of the Clelands but taking a crossbow bolt to the leg but escaping with one of them, Teddy (Kevin Kolak), placed unconscious in the trunk.
Unable to get a firearm and the situation escalating, Dwight has no choice but to ask help of an old friend, ex national guardsman Ben Gaffney (Devin Ratray). Ben has all the firepower he needs and willing to lend him some. After some brief firearm training he is ready to take on the Clelands.
Ben Gaffney: I know this is personal and that's how you'll fail. No speeches. You point the gun, you shoot.
But first to deal with Teddy in the trunk to try and cut a deal and end the vendetta by explaining his decision to kill Wade. Teddy is sympathetic to his revenge but there is a problem – wade didn’t kill his parents, and now it’s extremely personal for the Cleland’s.
Teddy Cleland: That's how this works, man. The one with the gun gets to tell the truth.
What’s interesting about this movie is the tone. I’m guessing there are not many IT assistant that are ready to join the army. Putting one from suburbia in a fight or flee situation with some country boys works well and you suddenly feel yourself backing the geek to kick ass. But he is not a kickass guy and desperation not heroics to his actions and so always vulnerable on screen. But many Americans have access to guns so Jeremy Saulnier says lets see what happens when they have to use one?
The director has shaded his film with the color blur to emphasize the color of revenge in these parts as our hero becomes emancipated and so a man. The settings clash between rural Virginia and downtown Virginia add an extra dimension to the film as Dwight is driven deeper into his mission of redemption as a man by the supreme but misguided act of vengeance. Many people watching this probably feel their lives are leading up to a moment like this that makes a man of them and spend that life hiding from that moment.
It crackles with tension and an oppressive atmosphere hangs over it as our hero enters into a violent world. This is not one of those films where the handsome hero has a Special Forces background and the body count rises with his skills. No, this film is about you in Dwight’s situation, like facing a mugger alone on a dark London street after work or standing up to your boss. It brings those two worlds smashing together. Acting and scripting is good and although this lost money at the box office that’s no judge of the movie. This is a directing talent emerging and I look forward to seeing Green Room now.
Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (46,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 96% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 77% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentary –
Jeremy Saulnier talks about his movie
-Behind the Scenes-
The little known cast talk about being on set and the movie
Not that many
Some red carpet stuff.
Washington Post –‘The world doesn't need another empty genre exercise. But as Blue Ruin reminds us, it can always use more filmmakers of Saulnier's resourcefulness, sensitivity and quiet assurance’.
Entertainment –‘With the same brand of realist irony the Coens used to cool down Blood Simple, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier slows the genre's heartbeat to gripping effect’.
The NY Post –‘Blue Ruin starts promisingly with a hairy hobo living in a blue, rusty, bullet-holed Pontiac on a Delaware beach’.
Film Comment Magazine –‘[A]n atmospheric, elegant piece, a more delicate, intriguingly nervous piece of pulp noir’.
Daily Mail -‘Saulnier makes impressive use of silence and slow camera movements, allowing the suspense to simmer until violence seems practically inevitable’.
Little White Lies –‘It's a dark film, with a sicko sense of humor, that's not for all tastes. But the talented director knows how to keep things tense, taut and exciting’.
The Seattle Times –‘Brilliant stroke to have a nerdiish carrying out a one-man vendetta against a gang of bad guys rather than a Charles Bronson retread.’
I have been a few times to this Imax cinema, most recently to see A Christmas Carol in 3D. The Imax is located next to the science centre and the new BBC building and looks like a large silver globe shaped building - like a smaller version of the SECC armadillo building. There is ample car parking, however, it is not free parking - it was around £2 after 6pm but if you pay for the token at the customer services desk at the front door before you watch the film, you get it cheaper.
Firstly, you MUST get there early to have any chance of a decent seat. Last time I got there around 30mins before the film started and there were already a few queueing but luckily I was near the front and got a great seat. The previous time I went I got there about 10mins before it started and got a seat right at the front row. It was awful and I don't recommend anyone to end up in that row - waste of money.
The cinema itself looks like a normal cinema only it is much steeper (no problems with anyone tall sitting in front and blocking your view) and the seats run in curved rows. The screen is massive and it's curved slightly so it fits your whole field of vision. As I've said before, you really don't want to be in the front few rows as you have to physically look up to see the whole screen and it hurts your eyes. Try to get at least from the middle row to the back.
The 3D effects were excellent - they give you the glasses as you go in and they are proper plastic ones not the rubbish paper ones. (It's amazing how different a film looks in 3D - its like you could reach out and touch things on the screen. Brilliant. When the camera pans in or out it feels as if you are actually moving and you get the butterfly feeling in your stomach like when you go over a hill in a car if you know what I mean! And the sound is excellent - full surround sound so it's much more realistic.
It's a bit more expensive than the normal cinema, adults around £8-9, students around £6-7 and children £5-6. But it's definately worth it especially if you have never seen a 3D film before - you will never want to see a normal film again!
The Imax Cinema is situated near to the Glasgow Science Centre and can be accessed from the Science Centre itself. It offers a number of films in 3D cinema with the best surround sound I have ever heard. The Imax generally shows around 5 or 6 films at a time, usually at least 2 in 3D. The Imax boasts itself as the ultimate movie experience. The large screen which is the size of a 5 a side football pitch apparently, gives crystal clear images easily better than any I have seen in any cinema. The sound is unlike other cinemas - and is called wraparound, which couldn't be more true. You truly feel like the sound comes from all the way around you, rather than from each side. We watched the new Harry Potter film here, and I am sure it felt 100% more eery than it would have in a "normal" cinema! Although cinemas generally have Dolby surround sound, this wraparound sound effect really makes it feel like you are in the middle of the movie!
It can be very popular and you may wish to book seats online. Even if you book online, seats are on a first come first served basis. This doesn't really matter as the picture is excellent and the sound makes it a great experience regardless of where you sit! The prices are a good bit more expensive than other cinemas with adults at £8.95 and children £6.95. You can choose to add on additional areas to visit e.g. the planetarium for an additional £2.50 on top of your cinema admission.
Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be used for Science Centre Admission, but cannot be used for admission to Imax movies - important for those Clubcard deals fans!
Overall, an excellent experience and markedly different from your bog standard cinema visit although hard on the pocket for a family. Make sure if visiting you go for a 3D movie for the full benefit of your admission price!!!