From the time he sat on my lap at age two for The Lion King until his middle teens, my son used to go with me to the movies regularly. I think it was an important bonding experience for us, right up there with watching King of the Hill together on Sunday nights for years and years.
Until a few days ago, the last movie we had seen together was Black Swan on one of his holiday breaks from college (we are both Aronofsky fans). When I told him that I’d like nothing more for Mother’s Day than for us to go to the movies together, I was thrilled that he seemed enthusiastic about the prospect.
I chose carefully to find a film that I thought would appeal to a 21-year-old with sophisticated taste in cinema and came up with writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s film Blue Ruin.
Macon Blair plays Dwight, a reclusive man living in his blue ruin of a car, who returns home to exact his revenge on a man who destroyed his family years before. The mechanics of the plot should not be revealed; just know that there are enough twists and turns to keep viewers engaged and enough suspense to cause a few white knuckles.
What is equally interesting as the story is the revelations that unfold about Dwight and his interactions with various characters throughout the film. The scenes opposite a high school friend played by Devin Ratray (Nebraska) are particularly effective. I can’t wait to see what roles Ratray will take from this point forward. He is riveting onscreen.
While I find the film satisfying and always appreciate when a movie produced on what is presumably a shoestring (budget not listed on Box Offic Mojo) succeeds in terms of narrative and style, I couldn’t help but run the comparison in my head between Blue Ruin and Winter’s Bone as I was watching and, as a result, found myself wanting just a bit more in terms of character development.
Still, a minor complaint, and this was a satisfying Mother’s Day trip to the movies with one of my favorite people in the world. I hope that the next shared viewing experience will be sooner rather than later.