Blue Ruin and Cleanskin are currently available on instant Netflix
Blue Ruin (2013) – Rated R
“Bad news from the past unhinges vagabond Dwight Evans, sending him on a mission of bloody retribution that takes him to his childhood hometown.”
“I’d forgive you if you were crazy, but you’re not. You’re weak.”
This is writer/director/cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier’s sophomore production. He had previously made Murder Party in 2007. I have not seen that film but Blue Ruin is a great study of what can be done with a good idea, even on a tiny budget.
There is a great economy of storytelling in Blue Ruin. In just the first few minutes, Saulnier and Macon Blair, who plays Dwight, convey a pretty accurate picture of a homeless beachcomber. Dwight receives the news that the murderer of his parents is being released from prison.
What follows is something I won’t go into detail about as the turns are an absolute delight. I will just say that this is a fairly interesting and somewhat realistic look at the directions revenge can go.
Watch it – you won’t be disappointed.
Cleanskin (2012) – Not rated
“A burned-out secret service agent must pursue a deadly suicide bomber and dismantle a terrorist cell that is wreaking havoc on the streets of London.”
Does Sean Bean, aka The Human Spoiler, die in this movie too? Sorry, I’ll leave that for you to find out.
Cleanskin is a wonderfully violent terrorist thriller that, unlike American Sniper, assumes that both sides are human. More importantly the main characters on each side are being constantly manipulated and lied to, leading to some pretty thorough disillusionment.
Obviously the credit for this film goes to Hadi Hajaig as he is not only the director and producer but also the writer and editor. The film and script are very intelligent. The story is split pretty equally between Ash (Abhin Galeya), a muslim student who keeps getting in deeper and deeper with some radicals, and Ewan (Sean Bean), our burned-out agent hunting down the terrorists.
Abhin Galeya is quite good as our angry young idealist. Sean Bean is marvelous as always and it is nice to see him in a lead role. It is also nice to see Charlotte Rampling as Charlotte, Ewan’s boss.
Cleanskin has a very exciting climax and an even more interesting denouement. Don’t worry about looking up the title, they explain it towards the end. Cleanskin actually seems to be what 24: Live Another Day should have been, albeit British.