We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
For cineastes of a certain age, think back to when you saw "Blood Simple" in 1984 or "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. For those who could stomach the violent shocks of graphic carnage that were usually offset by sardonic humor, it felt exhilaratingly cathartic to gasp in horror and then laugh nervously at the outlandish amount of bodily damage done by often-inept perpetrators.
What innocent times those were.
Flash forward several decades to 2014. Clearly, 30-something director, writer and cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier has witnessed his fair share of guts splattered on multiplex screens. The bloody fingerprints of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers—among other violence-prone auteurs—are smeared all over his tidy and tautly-told "Blue Ruin," a low-budget revenge thriller that has been steadily gaining a cult rep on the film festival circuit since showing last year at Cannes.
And yet this hillbilly-gothic tale of a damaged homeless drifter who seeks retaliation for the long-ago murder of his parents is informed even more by the headlines of today. While the cultural aftershocks of 9/11 could be spied in the rise of conflicted comic-book superheroes as well as in the extreme gore of such fright films as the "Saw" franchise, Saulnier might be one of the first filmmakers of his generation to reflect in a fictional way upon the devastation done to our national psyche by gunfire attacks that seem to show up daily in headlines, both grand-scale massacres and one-on-one confrontations.