BLUE RUIN

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.

Blue Ruin

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