Friday, March 6, 2015

That's what people do.

I'm not gonna lie to you: I've thought about killing someone before. 

Usually it's fellow motorists, or even the occasional door-to-door salesman (I think these people get cash bonuses for waking my daughter), but sometimes, I'm simply overcome by the irrational need for vengeance/justice. Maybe I watch too many movies, who knows, but to my credit, generally those movies also keep my ass in line. Typically, the flicks I watch show the ramifications of momentary blood lust: the authorities get involved.

And up until a few nights ago, I would have told you that the police are certainly something I would fear in that situation. But it turns out there's something much worse than someone calling the cops after you've wronged them:

Someone not calling the cops. 

Like Big Bad Wolves [review] before it, I owe my viewing of Blue Ruin to some trusted comrades on Twitter. On probably a dozen occasions, I recall 140 characters dedicated to singing the praises of this intensely atmospheric thriller. And surprising no one, it didn't disappoint.

After an intriguingly slow build-up, this motherf--ker never lets go. In fact, I'm pretty sure I held my breath on more than one occasion. If you have Netflix and you haven't seen this movie, do yourself a favor and get the f--k out of here, asap. (honestly, that's probably good advice even if you're going to watch something else, you know?)

Anyway, without spoiling too much, the premise is simple. A homeless drifter is brought into a police station and told he's being released ('he' begin someone else, not the drifter). And while we're not entirely sure who is being released, we are at least told it's for a double-murder. Who he killed, for the moment, is a mystery.

And that ain't the half of it..

Often revenge flicks exist in a fantastic world, which while thrilling, in hindsight, somewhat detracts from their effectiveness. Oldboy, one of my favorite movies ever, has such an elaborate setup - it's hard to imagine Oh Dae-su actually ensnared in that plot, let alone some schmuck like me. John Wick [review] was a f--king excellent new-school revenge flick, but we're one three-tittied hooker away from that one being set on another planet altogether. Even the aforementioned Big Bad Wolves veers into fantasy with the amount of torture that poor bastard endures. Goodness. Anyway, Blue Ruin, on the other hand, while taking place in Virginia, could take place just about anywhere. It's so grounded in a depressing reality and so crushingly deliberate, it feels shockingly plausible. And it's that brutal authenticity that made me not only stare at the screen, but it's also what made me turn away, too.

Speaking of turning your back on something, here are the Yays and Boos. We actually started this one with the Mrs., but after watching half of it with her eyes welded shut, she just gave in and went to sleep anyway. But when she awoke, to her credit, she needed answers. Badly.

Thank God I called that guy.
  • Has there ever been a more sympathetic (or just pathetic?) character than Macon Blair's Dwight? Holy shit, man. I wanted to violently shake him...then give him a hug.
  • Okay, something F--KING AMAZING just happened.. I was about to say how much I loved Devin Ratray's role as Ben in this. Then I was about to say I need to see some more of his work. Then I saw that I have seen him before. In a little flick called Home Alone. Which in itself would be enough to have me willingly project my body through the nearest f--king wall out of glee, but then it took an even more improbable/orgasmic turn. He was f--king BUZZ! BUZZ! Excuse me as I find a paper bag to breathe in to...
  • --------
  • Okay, I'm back. I loved how little dialogue is in this movie. It's amazing.
  • So, all revenge flicks have violence, right? Of course they do. Sometimes it's kind of cathartic, maybe even amusing. Here? It's neither. It's awful. Perfectly awful, if that makes sense.
  • My God, that false alarm. That shit almost killed me. In fact, I think that's the point where my wife said f--k this, I'm going to bed/surrendering from the terror.
  • He had a pitchfork. At one point, that was on the table.
  • There's a bit where Dwight is lying on the floor with a flashlight and I was legitimately worried for his safety. Just kidding, it wasn't his safety I was worried about. It was mine.
  • That's what bullets do. F--k.
  • And finally, the ending. Just...nope. I've got nothing.

Jesus, man.
  • While those first minutes were quietly mysterious, I didn't really enjoy the moment when I had to ask myself the following question:  I wonder if a homeless guy has ever taken a bath in my house when I'm not home?
  • Nice stretch limo, 1989. Plan on visiting the Nakatomi Plaza later?
  • What the f--k, Guy at the Diner? That was the worst time in the history of the world to ask for f--king ketchup. We've got some major shit going down here, bruh.
  • Arrow removal. Every phase of it.
  • Teddy, you quick-moving asshole. 
  • Look, I'm not Captain Planet or anything, but that was really a waste of water, Dwight. I mean, maybe don't turn it on full-blast, you know?
  • Damn you, automatic light timers. Scared the shit out of me.
  • And finally, for the first time I can remember, we had a hero/villain who was okay with a tie score. But could it end that way? Of course it couldn't. Someone had to win. And by win, clearly I mean f--king lose.
I think it's safe to say that I'm never going to go on a revenge spree like you'd see in the movies. Oh, I'm not saying I won't be wronged in my remaining days, it's just that I'm not really a man of action, you know. I tend to let things go. So when I don't call the cops? Chill the f--k out, man. I've got a family to take care of.

Unless I don't. 'Cause if movies have truly taught me anything, then we're both f--ked.


  1. Great review! I threw this in my queue awhile back, despite one of my friends absolutely hating it. I seems to be hearing better things from the blogging community.

    I must be lucky, I've never encountered a door to door salesman other than a girl scout/boy scout. I'm not even sure how I would handle that? Slam the door? Be polite and listen, then say no?

    1. I can't imagine 'hating it', but I guess it's possible. It's a quick watch though, so I wouldn't hesitate in telling you to give it a shot. I bet you'll dig it.

      No bullshit, people come by our house all the time. Lately it's been little bastards looking to shovel our sidewalk, but once it was a guy selling meat. MEAT. Door to door. He literally laid that shit on my front step. And when I looked at him like get the f--k out of here, his response was I GOT SHRIMP IN THE VAN. I almost went into a Michael Douglas Falling Down-style rage against humanity.

      (but yeah, I generally go with polite, as I don't want them to come back and torch my shit)

    2. OMG! The meat people are the WORST! I get them too...they sell to one of my neighbors and so when they make deliveries they come over and try to sell to me.


      But I find it hilarious that I get a lot of kids from security alarm companies come to my door, and they start panicking when I tell them that my best friend owns his own company and I go through him...and they literally start trying to tell me that my buddy is ripping me off (which I know he's not)...the look on their face is a wonderful thing.

  2. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So glad you saw...and LOVED this! It's a perfect thriller, truly. I great slow burn that hits every nail perfectly. I love how all of your 'boos' and kind of 'yays'...that's how perfect this film is.

    And I completely understand your first statement ;-)

    1. Dude, this is the perfect thriller. There's so little happening, but it's all so f--king intense, right? I could barely handle it.

      Oh, all the Boos are a testament to things the film did well that basically terrified me. There wasn't anything I truly didn't like. At least nothing I can remember. Oh, wait. No nudity! That's generally a staple around these parts, isn't it. (I'm an idiot)

    2. Well, they really should have had Dwight kill that guy in a strip club, because you know that's the first thing that guys released from prison wanna do...see boobies. And then it could have checked off that 'things you need in a horror/thriller movie' trope, because...there are always boobs.


  3. My stomach hurts from laughing so much! Outstanding. So glad you watched this one. Yes, Dwight was both sympathetic and pathetic. And thank goodness he called "that guy." I love how incredulous he is that Dwight missed from so close and knows he has to give him even better help. Love this movie.

    1. Ha. Glad you got a laugh or two. I'm also stoked that I ended up seeing this one, as there's this trove of awesome stuff on Netflix that I've only begun to sift through (The FP included, right?). Thanks for being a part of the heads-up.

      Man, that guy was the best That Guy ever. He asked very little of Dwight and bailed his ass out in the biggest way possible. Even if he wouldn't let you sleep in his room if you were growing on his ass, he's still a pretty clutch friend.

  4. I am so glad you watched this movie! It's such a good one. A beautifully made drama/thriller that keeps it real. And you wrote a beautiful review, as per usual.

    1. Thank you, per usual.

      Do you have any similar recommendations?

    2. Unfortunately, no. Nothing comes to mind. I've really never seen anything like this. Thematically, it's similar to In the Bedroom, a wonderful, depressing-ass movie. Have you seen it?

    3. I think I actually caught that one in the theaters, and all I can really remember is that I was uncomfortable start to finish. Oh, and my wife was there.

      Unrelated, those facts are.

  5. Love your review!! Blue Ruin has to be the most realistic revenge thriller ever made. I love your comparisons to others that are definitely of the more fantastical variety (three-tittied hooker LOL). Anytime this seemed like it was getting too cinematic (fixing wounds by himself!) it went back to being completely realistic (stumbling into the hospital!... which was hilarious). Can't wait to rewatch this one actually.

    1. Thanks, Jess! I'm definitely giving it bonus points for realism/awfulness. It's just so straightforward...I loved it, even if Oldboy and John Wick were a million times more exciting. The realistic approach gave it such weight dramatically, you know?

      Great point about some of the more movie-ish stuff. Any time it veered into Rambo-esque lone-wolf madness, it quickly turned back into clueless shy dude, f--king things up. Loved that.

  6. Hey! You've seen a good movie! :) I heard about this but didn't see this one yet, guess now I really have to

    1. Yeah, I was surprised, too. It's becoming increasingly uncommon that I see anything worth mentioning...(and then I write about it). Though, I really loved Scenic Route. That movie was pretty damn good.

      As for more pressing matters, er, you, I definitely recommend this flick as it's quietly thrilling. Let me know if you do. Oh, and by the way, totally skipped your Kingsman review. Though it certainly looks like a good read, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Yet.

  7. I also had a lot of fun with this movie. It was tense but not in the way we usually see. I also found myself sympathizing with the guy at first and then finding him sad by the end. It's quite a switch to realize he may be just as bad as everyone else, if not worse. Love the description of John Wick as being nearly in another planet. So true!

    1. It was very interesting to see him go from someone we were kind of rooting for, to someone we just felt bad about. He was barely a person to begin with, but by the end....I'm not even sure. Just a shadow or something, you know?

      John Wick! I'm pretty sure it was set on Mars, right?