V for Vengeance – ★★★½
Writer director Jeremy Saulnier’s most recent offering is a revenge yarn with a lot of heart and not just some gory hollow violence. It stars Macon Blair as Dwight, a hobo who is getting by rummaging through garbage bags and sneaking baths in other people’s homes. A police officer takes him downtown but not for any crime merely to inform him that a man is being released from jail who is intricately linked to Dwight. This sets Dwight into action, making him clean out his beat up old car and put the plan for revenge he has been formulating all these years into action.
What unfolds is a series of tense, at times funny, and always bloody scenarios that make us question the value of revenge. The film seems to be as much a commentary on vengeance and the old testament mantra of an eye for an eye as it is about gun control.
There are numerous shots of the shear number of guns possessed by the characters and you feel that the director is trying to evaluate America’s need to bare arms and its culture of violence.
The cast is minimal with Macon Blair being the focal point throughout. His sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) is great at offering some balance and the bond between the pair gives the film a lot of it’s emotional core. A great turn from Devin Ratray (Buzz from Home Alone!) as an old high school friend adds to his performance in last year’s Nebraska hopefully meaning we’ll be seeing some more of him at least in indie American cinema.
The film has some great dark humour which Blair’s deadpan expressions pull off to a tee making the film reminiscent of early Coen brothers’ film Blood Simple. The direction of Saulnier makes for a tense experience with each scene deftly bringing the climax to a conclusion.
The film doesn’t outstay its welcome at ninety minutes but perhaps more time could have been given to explore some of the deeper issues at work.
Blue Ruin is released in Ireland on Friday the 2nd of May