Blue Ruin – reviews of 'brilliant, slow-burn' revenge thriller

May 2, 2014

Newcomer Jeremy Saulnier impresses critics with 'fresh and exciting' crowd-funded thriller

What you need to know 
American revenge thriller Blue Ruin is released in UK cinemas today. The film from writer-director Jeremy Saulnier was financed with the aid of crowd-funding and won the International Critics Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

In Blue Ruin a homeless man, Dwight (Macon Blair), discovers that the man who murdered his parents has been released from jail. With renewed purpose he embarks on a revenge mission that puts his own estranged family at risk.   

What the critics like 
Here is "a lean, tough, thoughtful thriller with depth" that keeps coming up with fresh twists on the well-travelled revenge genre, says Kim Newman in Empire. It establishes Saulnier as a promising indie auteur and Blair as an unusual leading man.

Blue Ruin is "a brilliant, slow-burning American revenge thriller of startling violence and profound conscience", says Andrew O'Hehir on Salon. The acting is beautifully calibrated as Saulnier channels the history of American crime cinema, masterfully creating a mood of laconic rural gothic.

It's "a twitchily well-acted thriller, and a suspenseful and sometimes very funny examination of revenge", says Siobhan Synnot in The Scotsman. This is the sort of fresh and exciting new work that comes along once in a blue moon.

What they don't like 
This seductively photographed thriller "sells its empty calories with great skill", says Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times. It mocks vigilante violence while slapping it on in gorgeous splatters, yet there's enough here to suggest that Saulnier is capable of better.

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