“BLUE RUIN” (Blu-ray Review)
A universal concept, the revenge film is a rightful staple of cinema that can emotionally connect with audiences of any generation around the world. We’ve all been wronged and as a result, we’ve all pondered the internal and external consequences of vengeance. As cinematic culture has progressed, the revenge tale has evolved into various directions; whereas U.S. cinema has opted for bloodier and spectacle-based revenge fantasies, international filmmakers have opted for bleaker and grim tales of unrewarding comeuppance. In fact, revenge films have become so formulaic that fewer powerhouse filmmakers have approached these stories, relegating the genre to winter dumping season or a quiet straight-to-DVD release.
When a film approaches the genre so radically different however, it certainly earns your attention. Enter BLUE RUIN; the new film from MURDER PARTY director Jeremy Saulnier, starring HELLBENDERS actor Macon Blair. While MURDER PARTY takes its cues from satire and deconstruction, BLUE RUIN removes itself from expectations completely by offering a quiet and occasionally heartbreaking story regarding the consequences of revenge.
Now on Blu-ray/DVD from Radius-TWC, BLUE RUIN treats its violence very delicately, presenting mostly silent moments of life in motion before sporadic explosions of brutality. Where BLUE RUIN differs from standard revenge films, is in its depiction of humanity; every action takes a toll on Dwight both emotionally and physically, who wanders in his desperate humility as the situation escalates. Thanks to a spectacular and physical performance by Macon Blair, as well as scene stealing from the likes of Amy Hargreaves and Devin Ratray, the film never escapes the realm of belief, making it all the more effective.
While it’s disc isn’t filled to the brim with extras, BLUE RUIN’s Blu-ray does come equipped with an impressive amount of special features for a film produced so quickly, and on such a low budget. The highlight comes in sole featurette, “No Regrets,” which details the making-of BLUE RUIN through behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with those involved. As stories range from fascinating to inspiring to heartbreaking to hilarious, the passion that flows through this featurette is infectious and well worth its moderate run time.
The other features on the disc are fine, though not as good as “No Regrets.” The feature commentary from Macon Blair and director Jeremy Saulnier is informative and occasionally fun as they drink throughout, but far too middling to justify sitting through the track entirely. The two deleted scenes on the disc, which come with optional commentary from Saulnier and Blair, fill in some gaps in the narrative but are justified in their excision, as they don’t provide much more in terms of story or subtext. Finally, the camera test, used as BLUE RUIN’s Kickstarter video, provides an insubstantial, if interesting early look into what the film eventually became.