In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “One of the most intense movie watching experiences I can remember for a long, long time.”
“I know this is personal and that’s how you’ll fail. No speeches. You point the gun, you shoot.”
It might not be a crowd pleasing blockbuster hit like Captain America: Civil War. Or widely hated, yet still financially successful spectacle like Batman Vs. Superman. But on the kind of movie nerd websites I read and podcasts I listen to, Green Room might be one of the most talked about movies of 2016 so far. Straight away, the praise made me know it was a movie that would benefit from going in on with as little prior knowledge as possible. So before I get my act together enough to actually go to a cinema to see Green Room, I made do by seeing the writer and director’s predecessor, Blue Ruin.
During a virtually dialogue free opening 20 minutes or so, a scraggly bearded, vagrant looking dude (Macon Blair) scrounges food scraps while living in his beat up old car. When he wakes one morning to police tapping his window, it’s not to be moved along, but to be told that the man convicted of murdering his parents has just been released from prison. The bearded man, now revealed to be named Dwight, hits the road, tracks down the newly free Wade Cleland Jr (Sandy Barnett) and messily kills him after a brutal fight in a bar bathroom. Losing his car keys in th altercation, Dwight escapes in a Cleland family limousine.
Clean shaven and dressed in a button down and khakis, Dwight makes his way home for the first time in several years to his sister Sam (Amy Hargraves) who is understandably shocked, but also vengefully happy, to hear what Dwight has done. When Wade’s murder goes unreported in the news, he realises that the Clelands have figured out who he was, based on the car he left behind. A car registered at his sister’s address. With Sam and her young children fleeing for safety, Dwight waits for the Clelands to come, looking of revenge.
Now, I saw this movie without knowing anything at all about its plot or any of the cast. And I have tried my best to keep the above synopsis as limited to the barest bones of the setup as possible, while still staying kind of coherent. But if you’ve read this far and think this is a movie for you, I would highly recommend not watching the trailer or reading anything else that might get into plot or spoiler territory.
Because while I’m sure Blue Ruin will hold up on multiple viewings, and would still be more than enjoyable if you knew what was coming, the lump I had in my throat having no idea what to expect for basically the movie’s entire 90 minutes, made it one of the most intense movie watching experiences I can remember for a long, long time.
Blue Ruin is B movie thriller stuff at its absolute best. A lot of quiet, tension building moments, before the occasional, totally earned explosions of action, violence or chaotic release. And all of that works because of the man it its centre. The entire cast is great, but Macon Blair as Dwight has such in intense, quiet sadness and rage, that even when he regrets things before doing them, you understand that these things have to happen. He simply has no choice.