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In the Dark

Between Hate and Love

Blue Ruin
Produced by The Lab of Madness
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Distributed by RADiUS-TWC

Hateship Loveship
Produced by The Film Community
Directed by Liza Johnson
Written by Mark Poirier from Alice Munro’s story
Distributed by IFC Films

Revenge, we’re told, is a dish best served cold.  But is this true?  Director Jeremy Saulnier decided to put this maxim to the test with his new film, Blue Ruin.  His method couldn’t be simpler.  He shows us what happens when revenge is served hot—not to mention wildly and ineptly.

Saulnier’s title, Blue Ruin, seems to refer to the decomissioned blue Bonneville that belongs to the film’s protagonist, Dwight (Macon Blair).  Beneath its plentiful rust, its original color shows through here and there.  There’s also the echo of a homemade gin trafficked during Prohibition.  Those who drank this azure-tinged rotgut were thought, with good evidence, to be inviting blue ruin into their lives.  Like his car, Dwight is decommissioned, and although (as far as we can tell) he doesn’t drink, he certainly has an alcoholic’s obsession with doom.  Some 10 or 15 years earlier (the chronology is vague), a roughneck named Wade Cleland shot his parents to death, leaving Dwight...

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