In the current cinematic landscape, there seems little room for thrillers of a "low-budget" nature. Jeremy Saulnier's Blue Ruin has managed to prove the value in movies with a more psychological slant. As the writer, director and cinematographer of the film, Saulnier puts his prior experience in film to the test. With most of his film resume packed with cinematography credits, Saulnier shows us time and time again through his visual palettes why he has chosen the title Blue Ruin.
Funded through the occasional miracle of Kickstarter, the tone and premise of Blue Ruin is allowed to flourish under Saulnier's complete creative control. A classic tale of revenge, we're introduced to Dwight Evans (Macon Blair), a former shell of himself in the wake of his parents' murder. Living out of his car in Delaware, Dwight bathes in other people's homes when they're away and relies on the occasional discarded snack for survival. He is awakened from his existence by a local police officer who gently informs him that the man responsible for killing his mother and father, Wade Cleland, has been released after ten years in prison.
While the tale of two warring families is nothing new (see: Romeo and Juliet), there is something so captivating and earnest about Saulnier's main character that you can't help but remain invested in his journey for the entirety of the narrative. With saturated tones of blue pervading almost every frame (particularly during a scene involving a fly-attracting blue light), Saulnier mirrors the morose, washed out nature of Dwight himself.
Blinded by the rage of memory and a perpetual wound that can only be healed by retaliative murder, Dwight finds Wade and kills him in the bathroom of a dive bar. He steals the limo that Wade and his brother, Teddy (Kevin Kolack), were driving after realizing he's left the keys to his own stolen car at the crime scene. The only problem is, he's already slit one of the tires to the limo. Plus, there's also another one of the Cleland brothers in the backseat. Nonetheless, Dwight manages to escape and seek out his sister, Sam (Amy Hargreaves).
When Sam learns of what he's done, she knows she must hide herself and her two kids in order to protect them from any reprisal from the Cleland family. At this point unemotional from all the trauma that has befallen her, Sam coldly states to Dwight, "I could forgive you if you were crazy. But you're not. You're weak." But so be it. At this point, revenge is Dwight's only fuel for getting through his days, much like Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill.
By the time he's been cut and stabbed a few times (which includes a trip to the drugstore to buy all the necessaries to mend himself--yielding catastrophic results), Dwight has finally learned the true motive and identity of the person behind his parents' murder. The ultimate message of Blue Ruin is that, while an eye for an eye can make all parties involved blind, it's extremely vindicating when it's happening--especially when it's the only thing that you've clung to for so many years.