I never saw this one coming. It was released in 2013 by RADiUS-TWC. Yeah, this one has “indie film” written all over it. For one, Pacific Title was not called in to do the intro. For another, you don’t recognize any of the actors. And for a third, it’s on the strange side. It’s Blue Ruin, and I caught it on Amazon Prime Video. Details are from Wikipedia.
The opening scene sets the mood. A man is taking a bath in a bathtub. Only, it’s not his house. He hears the owners pulling up in the driveway, and he beats it starkers out the bathroom window, clutching his clothes.
The man is Dwight Evans (Macon Blair). He lives out of a beat up car along a stretch of beach. Views of the car indicate bullet holes, but I didn’t see anything about this brought out in the movie. Presently a woman cop (Sidné Anderson) hauls Dwight into the station. She tells him he’s not in trouble with the police, but she needs to warn him that Wade Cleland (Sandy Barnett), the man who killed Dwight’s parents, is about to be released from prison. Then she lets him go.
Revenge is on Dwight’s mind, and he is unable to obtain a gun. He stalks Wade to the men’s restroom in a sleazy club and kills him brutally.
He escapes in the Cleland car, for some reason a stretch limo. A kid, William (David W. Thompson), is discovered in one of the back seats and is released out on the highway.
Wade’s killing does not show up in the news. Dwight figures the reason is the family wants revenge, not justice. They have concealed Wade’s death and are going after Dwight or his sister, Sam (Amy Hargreaves). He has Sam evacuate her house and take her children out of town. Then he lies in wait in the house. When Teddy (Kevin Kolack) and Carl Cleland (Brent Werzner) arrive at night with weapons, Dwight runs over Teddy with his car, but catches an arrow in the leg from Carl. Dwight places the limp Teddy in the trunk of the car, where he remains for much of the remainder of the movie.
Dwight tracks down a high school buddy, Ben Gaffney (Devin Ratray), who has had some military experience. It turns out Ben has had some very good military experience, and he lends Dwight some weapons and also some valuable advice. He warns that when the time comes to kill there should be no soliloquizing. The first order of business is to pull the trigger. Of course, Dwight does not follow this advice.
We next see the trunk of Dwight’s car open with Teddy inside. They talk. Dwight learns it was not Wade who killed his parents, but Teddy and Carl’s father, now dead of cancer. The whole thing has been about a family feud, started when the elder Cleland found out Dwight’s father was screwing his wife. The elder Cleland shot Dwight’s father, and then the mother because she was there. I’m figuring that’s where the bullet holes in the car came from.
Yes, you guessed it. Teddy lures Dwight close enough and takes his gun. Then he prepares to end the feud. We hear the zing of a rifle bullet sails by. It’s the last we see of Teddy alive, as the next bullet from Ben explodes his head.
Dwight buries Teddy’s body on the Cleland property and waits for the remaining Clelands to arrive. He kills Carl, and talks to the remaining Cleland women while William sneaks in with a shotgun. William shoots Dwight fatally. In a follow-on fusillade of bullets the two women die. William, now revealed as Dwight’s half brother, leaves the scene.
The budget for this production was $420,000, and after a struggle it grossed $993,313. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the FIPRESCI Prize.
The roles did not call for stellar dramatics, and the actors handled their muted personas with skill and grace. Macon Blair does not seem to have done anything spectacular besides this, but Devin Ratray was previously Macaulay Culkin‘s big brother Buzz in Home Alone. Everybody’s all grown up now. Kevin Kolack, from Austin, put in a good performance as Teddy, though he spent most of it in the trunk of Dwight’s car. He looks convincingly tough during his few seconds of fame before he is killed. There ought to be some more work for him somewhere.