Macon Blair in Blue Ruin.

Director Jeremy Saulnier has fun with revenge-thriller clichés and creates a few twists of his own with Blue Ruin, a darkly funny and sometimes disturbing showcase for actor Macon Blair.

Blair plays Dwight, a homeless man who we first see living a meager life in Delaware. He takes baths in other people’s houses, gets his meals from trash bags, and lives in his car. In its opening moments, Blue Ruin seems as if it will just be an interesting case study of a dude trying to survive on soda bottles and discarded hamburgers. Then, about five minutes into the movie, a policewoman knocks on Dwight’s car window.

No, Dwight isn’t getting hauled in for vagrancy. The cop is informing him that the man who allegedly killed his parents is being released early from prison. This sets into motion a revenge story like no other, in which a hairy homeless guy returns to his childhood home and makes a bunch of people wish they had different last names.

Saulnier does a lot with a small budget, shooting a solid-looking movie with some pretty heavy gore effects. No, the movie isn’t wall-to-wall bloodletting, but the moments in which the blood sprays are quite impactful. There’s one particular moment in which somebody takes a bullet to the jaw that I won’t soon forget.

With Dwight, Blair gives us an original, vengeful character to go alongside the likes of Uma Thurman’s Bride in the Kill Bill movies and Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs. He’s unforgettable—and just a little heartbreaking in the end.

Blue Ruin is available via various online sources including iTunes and