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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.

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8 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Ben Gaffney
...
Sam
...
Teddy Cleland
...
Kris Cleland (Sister)
...
William
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Revenge comes home

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Release Date:

9 July 2014 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Revenge Project  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,066,167 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ben Gaffney has a tattoo on his left inner forearm of an electric chainsaw which is a reference to Jeremy Saulnier's film Murder Party (2007). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Renegade Cut: Blue Ruin (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

End Flux
Written and Performed by TEARIST, Yasmine Kittles and Williams Strangeland Menchaca
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User Reviews

 
"brutal, shocking and disturbing"
29 April 2014 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

"Revenge, at first though sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils." – John Milton, Paradise Lost

Killing has become so routine in movies today that no one blinks an eye when half a dozen people are slaughtered in the space of thirty seconds. Not that many people die in so short a time in Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin, however, but the violence is, as the director himself describes it, "brutal, shocking and disturbing." The main character, Dwight (Macon Blair) is an inept bumbler but one who is driven to exact revenge for his parents murder, a decision that leads to many and varied dead ends, both literal and figurative. Though Dwight is not an especially sympathetic protagonist and is more often than not, an object of laughter, his presence throughout the film is captivating with Blair's performance superbly capturing his emotionless banality.

Set in rural Virginia, we know little of Dwight's background and there are no extraneous sub-plots, one-liners, fatherly mentors, or love affairs to distract us from finding out. He is not mentally ill, bullied in school, or a man seething with anger, but a lonely and isolated individual doing what is expected of him in a society where violence is equated with manhood. When we first meet Dwight, he is a long-haired, disheveled, and generally unkempt-looking individual who you would probably want to avoid if he was walking behind you late at night. Down on his luck, he sleeps in a rusty old blue Pontiac that looks about as scruffy as he does, eats food out of garbage dumps, and sneaks into people's homes to take a shower.

We only find the cause of his present state when a supportive policewoman tells him that Carl Cleland (Brent Werzner), the man who was in prison for killing his parents has just been released after serving many years. Revenge is swift and bloody when Dwight follows the newly-freed man into the men's room at a bar and stabs him to death with a knife, an attack that leaves no doubt that stabbing someone in the throat produces lots of blood. Unthinkingly leaving his registered car at the scene of the crime, Dwight, now clean shaven and looking like any suburban businessman, knows that he has opened up a war between families and that his sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) will be targeted by the rest of the Cleland clan, stereotypically good ol' boys.

The Cleland's decide not to call the police but choose to keep the feud "in house," forcing Dwight to send Sam and her two small children out of town, while he waits for the boys to arrive and they don't let him down. Though he somehow manages to escape after overpowering brother Teddy (Kevin Kolack) and locking him in the trunk of his car, he has an arrow in his leg that he tries to remove it himself with much moaning and groaning. Finally relenting, he lets the doctors finish the job at the nearest hospital (one wonders how many patients the doctors treat with arrows in their legs because they curiously don't ask any questions).

Dwight knows that he needs weapons, however, if he is to stay alive and contacts Ben (Devin Ratray, Buzz in Home Alone), a friend from high school and the rest of the film unfolds in an unpredictable, but quietly riveting manner. Winner of the FIPRESCI award at Cannes last year, Blue Ruin is an intense character study that, in essence, is a cautionary tale. While it doesn't glamorize violence, it has enough of it to make us take notice. Though the Bible (Exodus 21:24) tells us that we should take an "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot," Gandhi's response that "an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind" seems to be more the point that Saulnier is making.


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