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Jeremy Saulnier

Review: ‘Green Room’

Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat in ‘Green Room’

“When you put people in extreme situations,” says Jeremy Saulnier, “it can be scary, or tragically pathetic, or even funny to watch them flail and try to acclimate.”

Blue Ruin, Saulnier’s Kickstarter-aided 2013 calling card, managed to ring the cherries on all of the options above, fashioning a diabolically inventive revenge movie that repeatedly headed down unpredictably satisfying avenues. The writer/director’s larger-budgeted follow-up, Green Room, gathers up that earlier promise and just goes sick with it, taking an intentionally stripped-down premise and jacking it up to ferocious speeds. As ruthlessly pedal-through-the-floor efficient as it is, the narrative also manages to find space for the director’s growing assortment of decidedly unheroic heroes—who somehow remain weirdly endearing while their hastily thought-out plans fall to bloody pieces. “What I do,” says Saulnier, “is revel in the details and minutia that bog people down. I account for ineptitude.”

Continue reading at The Portland Mercury

Film Review: ‘Blue Ruin’

Layering humor into violent situations is a trademark of both multiplex and American indie movies, and it’s frequently an empty gesture—a hipster wink to the audience, a cheapening of anything like real engagement with the material. However: While fugitive humor emerges in regular intervals in the bloody, micro-budget revenge picture Blue Ruin, this is something different. The jokes are funny, for one thing, but they also serve a purpose. If plenty of movies (and novels and plays) preach lessons on the negative toll of revenge, this one goes straight for revenge-as-absurdity. Why wouldn’t we laugh at the subject?

Dwight (the heroic Macon Blair) lives in a disintegrating blue car by the seashore. He receives disturbing news: The man convicted of killing Dwight’s parents is being released from prison. This sets in motion Dwight’s revenge, a plan so haphazard and freely improvised that at times it approximates the end-over-end momentum of a Road Runner cartoon.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Macon Blair and his blue ruin