DVD Review: Blue Ruin cranks up tension ******

Blue Ruin'DVD cover
Blue Ruin'DVD cover
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HOMELESS drifter Dwight (Macon Blair) lives in a rusted blue Pontiac down by the beach. One morning, he is shepherded into the local police station where Officer Eddy (Sidne Anderson) delivers some dire news: Will Cleland (David W Thompson), the man serving time for murdering Dwight’s parents, is to be released from prison.

Eddy’s revelation shakes Dwight out of his self-pitying fug and he drives back to West Virginia to dole out what he perceives as justice to Will.

This bloodthirsty crusade imperils Dwight’s estranged sister Sam (Amy Hargreaves) and her two children. Thankfully, old school pal Ben (Devin Ratray) has a stash of firearms to fend off any retaliation from Will’s hillbilly brethren. Anchored by a tour-de-force central performance from Blair, whose mournful stare instantly curries sympathy, Blue Ruin is an impeccably crafted revenge thriller that breathes new life into a well-worn genre.

Flashes of macabre humour, reminiscent of the early Coen brothers, allow us to pause for sharp intakes of breath between meticulously staged set pieces including an altercation in a diner toilet and a night-time stand-off with two merciless members of the Cleland clan.

From its striking opening shot of a man languishing in a bath, Jeremy Saulnier’s second feature establishes a deceptively slow and steady pace that belies the nerve-shredding tension beneath the surface.

Blue Ruin (15) out on DVD/Blu-ray (£19.99)