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Blue Ruin (2013)

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A mysterious outsider's 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.



3,507 ( 250)
8 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Ben Gaffney
Teddy Cleland
Kris Cleland (Sister)
Brent Werzner ...
Carl Cleland
Hope Cleland (Cousin)
Officer Eddy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sandy Barnett ...
Wade Cleland, Jr.
Brooke Bennett ...
Smoking Girl
Gina Byrne ...
Triage Nurse
Ellen Danaher ...
Pawn Shop Clerk
Elizabeth Fredericks ...
Metal Detector Couple
George Fredericks ...
Metal Detector Couple


A mysterious outsider's 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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Revenge comes home


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

9 July 2014 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Revenge Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,066,167 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$32,608 (USA) (25 April 2014)


$258,113 (USA) (20 June 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film Critic Chase Whale named it the best film of 2014. See more »


When the main character returns some empty cans for money we see several cans returned. While the deposit ticket (briefly) only states 20 cents and wouldn't be enough for most purchases, let alone the map he buys, he simply had other loose change he had scavenged. See more »


[first lines]
Officer Eddy: [wakes Dwight by knocking softly on his car door] Get ready. I'd like you to come into the station.
Dwight: I... Is it about the house. 'Cuz I could...
Officer Eddy: Dwight, sweetheart, I'll explain. Okay? Just come with me.
See more »


Referenced in Half in the Bag: Green Room (2016) See more »


2 Pretty 4 This Picture
Written and Performed by My New Mixtape
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User Reviews

Excellent, well paced, and suspenseful, Blue Ruin is the Coen Brothers mixed with a dash of Tarantino.
5 May 2014 | by (Gold Coast, Australia) – See all my reviews

Every so often, when the stars align, along comes a small art-house flick that manages to capture your attention like nothing before. And Blue Ruin, filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier's Cannes Film Festival entry, certainly captured my attention like nothing before. It's certainly odd – no big names behind it, no overcomplicated tat, just clean and effective filmmaking. I liked that, and I loved Blue Ruin. True to its namesake, it is a very blue movie; his car, the car seats, the faint illumination of an LED lamp, and the sunny skies, all very blue. Similarly blue is the story itself – soaked in melancholy, it is very tragic indeed.

Blue Ruin is about a vagrant called Dwight. He has a scraggly beard, and lives out of his car. He sorts through trash for leftovers, and squats in homes while the owners are on holiday. His existence is rather sad, but rather uplifting all the same – by day he fishes and sits on the beach, and by night he reads books by the light of a little LED lamp. You are rarely disgusted by his life — you may cringe as he tears into garbage bags in search of food, bon appétit — but otherwise he is pretty OK in my books. Dwight lives a sad existence, but seems fairly content all the same.

But like a string of a sweater, his tragic life rapidly unravels. The murderer of his parents, revealed by a tiny newspaper article, is out of jail. Dwight, understandably, is very upset. Some may sit and wallow in the injustice of the release, but he does anything but, as he jump-starts his tatty blue car and heads to his hometown. There, he exacts his revenge, and his muddled past is slowly unravelled.

I adore films that have the guts to show, instead of just telling the audience everything upon entry. Blue Ruin had the ability to squander everything, and squish the back story into some lazy exposition or some heavyhanded narration. It, however, doesn't. We can latch onto the curtain, and tug as hard as we can to reveal the stage behind, but that stage is shrouded in the fog of mystery. Thank goodness it is, I say. If it weren't, this film wouldn't have much substance. But, hiding behind the convenient layers of the story, it reveals the necessities and lets your mind wander. Nothing more, nothing less.

If I didn't know any better, I would instantly associate Blue Ruin with the brutality of Nicolas Winding Refn, or the dark wit of the Coen brothers. It's a fairly typical revenge movie – Dwight is angry about an injustice, and proceeds to shoot almost everything. By that description, you'd likely associate it with a Tarantino flick – but it isn't one. The most interesting element of Saulnier's revenge flick is its humanity. This isn't to say Tarantino is without humanity, just Blue Ruin has oodles and oodles of it. Dwight seems to stumble through everything, smothering fingerprints over every surface, and coating everything in blood. Hell, at one point he tries to imitate the Terminator as he attempts to remove an arrow from his leg – scalpel at the ready, and blood oozing from his wound, he ends up stumbling into an operating room, and having it removed there instead. He doesn't really know what he is doing, but he gets there in the end nonetheless.

And he proceeds to stumble throughout the rest of the story. He isn't good with a gun, but he proves himself an adequate assassin. Similarly, he falls asleep whilst awaiting his victims in their home, but he wakes up just in the nick of time. He is told to just shoot, and not waste time with elegant monologues, but he stops to give a little speech anyway. Rarely do you see a character so remarkably flawed on-screen, but Dwight is lovable all the same. Especially after he shaves – the beard was a bit too scraggly.

Blue Ruin is so straightforward, and rather predictable, but still has the twists and turns it needs to be an interesting story. It manages to shroud Dwight's past in the shadows of a mystery, and unravel slowly, but not so slowly as to bore everyone's brains out. It has its fair share of bloody gore, which is fun, and heartstring-tuggings, which is effectively emotional; you won't be bawling, but Dwight's puppy-dog eyes are rather pathetic (in the best sense of the word). And so, if you want to make an effective movie, imitate Blue Ruin; show, instead of tell, and do take your time; you have plenty.

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