Blue Ruin


Blue Ruin (2014)


Critic Consensus: Smart, stripped-down, and thrillingly grim, Blue Ruin proves that a well-told revenge story can still leave its audience on the edge of their seat.


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Movie Info

BLUE RUIN is a classic American revenge story that recently won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival where it screened in the Directors' Fortnight. The film follows a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. (c) Radius-TWC

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Devin Ratray
as Ben Gaffney
Eve Plumb
as Kris Cleland
Brent Werzner
as Carl Cleland
Kevin Kolack
as Teddy Cleland
Stacy Rock
as Hope Cleland
Sidne Anderson
as Officer Eddy
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Critic Reviews for Blue Ruin

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (33)

The world doesn't need another empty genre exercise. But as Blue Ruin reminds us, it can always use more filmmakers of Saulnier's resourcefulness, sensitivity and quiet assurance.

Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

With the same brand of realist irony the Coens used to cool down Blood Simple, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier slows the genre's heartbeat to gripping effect.

Jan 5, 2015 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Saulnier is also a cinematographer, and he's in complete control of the film's conflation of human-scale horror and tragicomedy.

May 8, 2014 | Full Review…

Blair, an unheralded actor, carries the whole picture. He's in practically every scene, and his performance is fascinating because in his eyes you can see the character struggling desperately with himself.

May 8, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Saulnier makes impressive use of silence and slow camera movements, allowing the suspense to simmer until violence seems practically inevitable.

May 8, 2014 | Full Review…

Saulnier spills a lot of blood, but he's an extraordinarily responsible and appealing craftsman.

May 5, 2014 | Full Review…
New Yorker
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Blue Ruin


Unlike the typical revenge tale wherein the hero is sure handed, surefooted and sureheaded, this story leans into the possibility that our grim revenger might not have it all together in any way, shape or form. And yet ... Good moviemaking all around. Get in for the antithesis of Charles Bronson and one nerve wracking ride. Good stuff.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A visceral revenge story whose nerve-wracking tension is combined so well with a dark sense of humor as it follows the inept (and sometimes hilarious) efforts of its amateur protagonist, moving in a deliberate, slow-burning pace towards a lacerating conclusion.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


There's nothing better than a revenge fantasy film. Tarantino is possibly the most famous, recent, purveyor of this genre with his revival of grindhouse and exploitation films, but "Blue Ruin" is its own strange, gothic ride through Southern crime. Read more at

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier understands the viewer should sympathize with the "hero" in order for us to be invested in his plight. You can appreciate Dwight's emotionally damaged vagabond. I'm not so sure we should be rooting for him, but we do. He has suffered deeply. Now he is tormented by deep sorrow and so he has our sympathy. Yet his quest is made more captivating in the way it's told, giving the audience pieces to make us root for the protagonist without really knowing everything. Even by the end, we never really know the complete story, just enough to understand what's happening in the moment. Bursts of violence are used. Blue Ruin occasionally falls victim to excess. More restraint in the bloodshed department would've been appreciated. An extended scene where Macon digs an arrow out of his leg is gratuitous in its desire to shock. Storytelling is a craft. Blue Ruin does indeed have an artistic way of telling an uncomplicated tale. It doesn't revolutionize the genre. It's a simple saga, artfully told.

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

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