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Eppler: Revenge thriller 'Blue Ruin' is killer good

Reported by: James Eppler
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Updated: 5/05 9:58 am

In the midst of all these big budget blockbusters this summer, we'll also see a few smaller movies sneaking into theaters. It's one of the good things about Lubbock having 60 first-run movie screens.

Sometimes these small-budget movies can be more thrilling and fun than those that cost millions of dollars.
Case in point - a movie called "Blue Ruin" now playing at Premiere Cinemas in Lubbock.

It's an example of doing a lot with a little.

Writer and director Jeremy Saulnier shot the picture himself - even using relatives houses for locations - and raised part of the less than $300,000 budget through the donation web site Kickstarter.

On the surface, everything about the movie is simple: it's a no-frills revenge tale without any huge action scenes. But it's very psychologically complex, and features twists on the standard genre story.

Macon Blair is tremendous as Dwight - a drifter who learns the man who murdered his parents is being released from prison. Dwight decides to get revenge, but he proves to be an inept assassin - even stealing a locked gun for the job.

Blair is tremendous as Dwight, with resolve overcoming fear and panic.

When the murder doesn't go according to plan, it puts the family Dwight abandoned years ago in danger. 

"Blue Ruin" unfolds methodically and it's layered with surprises - even a "Brady Bunch" cast member making an appearance. It's also incredibly gritty and intense with scenes of white-knuckled tension often leading to shocking, brutal violence. 

But it never celebrates the vengeance or violence. It's a movie with a strong conscience.

While this is a genre picture with some of the inevitable cliches that come with it, "Blue Ruin" rarely makes a bad move, as our unlikely hero consistently does.
It also signals the arrival of a fascinating filmmaker in Saulnier. His violent revenge movie is killer good.

EPPLER'S RATING: * * * * 

Out of five stars 
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