Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blu-ray/DVDebut: Jeremy Saulnier's smart, thought-provoking vengeance tale, BLUE RUIN

One of the most oddball, funny and smart/sleazily enjoyable slasher comedies TrustMovies has seen -- the 2007 Murder Party -- suddenly popped up when I clicked to see the IMDB profile for Jeremy Saulnier (shown below), director, writer and cinematog-rapher of the generally well-received BLUE RUIN. Murder Party was an original -- a comic tale of "art," life and the mayhem that ensues when a fellow is invited to said party as the "guest of honor." It's been seven years since that film made its debut, and we've still seen nothing quite like it. Now we have Mr. Saulnier's latest endeavor to consider and content us. Again, it's an original.

This time, however, Saulnier is every bit as serious about his characters and events as he was lighthearted about those in his earlier piece. And though his movie is indeed original, its genre -- the vengeance thriller -- is anything but. Yet how this talented filmmaker approaches his story, how he parcels out information so that both we and the characters we're watching learn more about what is really going on and why makes for a much more thoughtful and problematic tale than we initially expect.

Who actually initiated the killings that began the tale and will continue, as well as who in the two families involved decides to keep the revenge going: These are things we learn along the way that stop us short and make us re-consider.

Saulnier tosses us into the middle of things immediately, in the person of Dwight (Macon Blair, in an unforgettable performance), initially hirsute, wide-eyed and looking like a crazy man (two photos above) then later, clearn shaven and more more "together" (just above) That he is not as crazy as might have imagined is quickly brought home by the kindly woman cop who alerts Dwight to some unsettling news.

I don't want to give much more away regarding plot twists and turns. I'll just say that every last one of these is believable and adds to the complexities on view. Along the way, we meet Dwight's sister (Amy Hargreaves, above), his old high school friend (Devin Ratray, below), and finally members of the, well, "opposing" family.

How it all is resolved should leave you satisfied, but not in the usual, vengeance-is-mine manner. When Blue Ruin made its theatrical debut a few months back, some critics remarked that, really, it was just another revenge tale. But it is not. It's a lot deeper and problematic that that. On the basis of Saulnier's two full-length films, I'd call him a very accomplished young filmmaker, one whom I will follow wherever he chooses to go.

Meanwhile, Blue Ruin -- from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Radius-TWC and running just 90 minutes -- appeared on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday, July 22 (the Blu-ray transfer, by the way, is smashing), for purchase or rental.

No comments: