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Blue Ruin, film review: Revenge story is as darkly melodramatic as any Greek tragedy

(15) Jeremy Saulnier, 90 mins Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack

A very bloody film noir, directed with tremendous ingenuity by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin benefits from its pared-down style and macabre humour.

The early part of the movie has next to no dialogue. Dwight Evans (Macon Blair) is a bearded hobo who tries to avenge a double homicide but, in doing so, ignites a ferocious family feud.

Saulnier, a cinematographer as well as a director, has a genius for framing. There is a subtlety and grace to his storytelling that is only partly undercut by the explosions of Grand Guignol-style violence.

Like the Coen brothers, he is also adept at infusing a revenge story that is as overwrought and darkly melodramatic as any Greek tragedy with comic elements.

Blair has an engaging deadpan fatalism as the hapless anti-hero, who quickly discovers that once the killing starts, it is very difficult to stop.