Dark and freaky, this brutal, low-key revenge thriller throws a bunch of relatively simple people into a moral quagmire, and drags us in as well. It's a remarkably effective exploration of how deep emotions can lead people into the most hopeless situations imaginable. And it features terrific acting from a largely unknown cast, as well as remarkably sure-handed work from filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier.
The title refers to the bullet-riddled rusty blue Pontiac Dwight (Macon Blair) has been living in since his parents were murdered. So when he hears that the killer Wade has been released from prison, he stalks him waiting for a chance to pounce. But killing a man is harder than he thought, and he doesn't feel much better afterwards. Also, Wade's family never calls the cops, so Dwight knows they're coming for him now. He runs to his sister (Amy Hargreaves) and warns her. And as things get increasingly messy, he turns to his gun-loving friend Ben (Devin Ratray) for help.
With his scraggly beard and exhausted eyes, Blair gives the film a terrific sense of inevitability: Dwight doesn't want to do any of this, but feels that he has to. As he begins to pull himself together, the sense of purpose seems to wake him up. And watching this adds currents of unexpected emotion in every scene, especially as the script reveals the original events that sparked all of this bitterness. It also makes what happens almost unbearably tense, especially since writer-director Saulnier depicts the violence as desperate and realistic.
Of course, the central idea here is that Dwight is caught in a cycle of vengeance that can never have a happy ending. As he squares off against various members of Wade's family, he changes from the hapless slacker into a man who is willing to pull the trigger first and worry about any moral fallout later. This is shocking and deeply visceral filmmaking that refreshingly refuses to explain every detail, leaving us to piece together the story and think about what we might do in his shoes.
Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 9th July 2014
Box Office USA: $0.3M
Distributed by: Radius-TWC
Production compaines: Paradise City, Film Science, The Lab Of Madness, Neighborhood Watch
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Fresh: 110 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 7.1 / 10
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producer: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
Screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Macon Blair as Dwight, Devin Ratray as Ben Gaffney, Amy Hargreaves as Sam, Kevin Kolack as Teddy Cleland, Eve Plumb as Kris Cleland, David W. Thompson as William, Brent Werzner as Carl Cleland, Stacy Rock as Hope Cleland, Sidné Anderson as Officer Eddy, Bonnie Johnson as Margaret, Ydaiber Orozco as Amanda, Erica Genereux Smith as Rock Girl
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