Saturday, May 03, 2014

"Blue Ruin": an man estranged from his family tries to avenge them, amateur style, crisscrossing Virginia

Blue Ruin” (Jeremy Saulnier) may seem to pander to the “gun culture” in Virginia, but it also appeals to rather old-fashioned ideas of family loyalty, leading to crimes of passion. 

Dwight (Macon Blair) is estranged from his family and drifting. But when the man who killed his parents gets out of prison (reminding me of the “Bubba Reeves” situation in “The Chase” in 1966), Dwight starts hunting down the killers himself, trying to clean himself up in the process.  Although he gets the help of a “fellow” gun enthusiast (Devin Ratray), his amateurishness will doom him, as well as everyone else, perhaps.  The teenager (David W. Thompson) seems clearheaded enough to survive it all.

The film crisscrosses The Old Dominion. There are outdoor scenes in recognizable places all over, from the Tidewater Great Dismal Swamp, to Skyline Drive (was that the Little Stony Man overlook?), to US 58 in the mountains along the NC border, to Waynesboro, Charlottesville, downtown Richmond, and even the Southern Towers apartments near I-95 in Alexandria.  The credits say that there are resources also in Atlanta and Passaic, NJ.  Director Richard Kelly (known for using locations around Richmond in his sci-fi films) would approve.

The title of the film comes, of course, from his “Blue Car” (which is itself a film title of a 2002 film from Karen Moncrieff) and seems hardly drivable, much less capable of containing a prisoner in the trunk (that idea seems to happen a lot in low budget movies).  There is some pretty unbelievable dependence on coincidence, too.  How many luxury car owners leave their keys in an easily found place when they park? 

The official site (TWC) is here

I saw the film at Angelika Mosaic early Saturday afternoon before a sparse audience, but tickets had been sold for the evening.

Will we see more indie filmmaking in the Old Dominion, like from me, soon? 
Picture: Stony Man summit,Blue Ridge, VA (4010 feet), November 2013. 

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