06. Blue Ruin with Becky Brynolf Transcript
[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Music]
SAM: 0:20 Hello, I'm Sam Clements and welcome to the 90 Minutes or Less Film Fest. This is a podcast that celebrates films with a 90 minute or less runtime and is entirely curated by guests on this podcast. Today, we are joined by social media lead for charity Shelter, script reader, and fellow podcaster, Becky Brynolf from the And Then What? podcast. Hi, Becky.
BECKY: 0:45 Hi Sam.
SAM: 0:46 What an intro!
BECKY: 0:47 I know, it's quite a lengthy one I'm sorry, I do a lot of things.
SAM: 0:50 You are such a busy person. And we are thrilled to have you on this podcast.
BECKY: 0:55 I'm very thrilled to be on this podcast. Thanks for inviting me.
SAM: 0:58 You are also the first guest from my hometown, and your hometown, Bristol.
BECKY: 1:02 Hello! How you doing?
SAM: 1:02 Alright!
BECKY: 1:03 Alright.
SAM: 1:03 So we can just completely go into West Country slang now.
BECKY: 1:07 Yes, we're gonna be that one bit in Hot Fuzz where no one understands anything that we're saying which'll be good.
SAM: 1:12 Mornin' Angle! Sadly, it's not 90 minutes or less, so we cannot talk about it.
BECKY: 1:18 No, we're not going to talk about any films that are over 90 minutes at all.
SAM: 1:21 In theory, no, because you have pre selected a film.
BECKY: 1:23 I have.
SAM: 1:24 Before we get to the film let's do, let's talk a little bit about how you chose that film. So I guess when you normally choose a film, does running time come into it at all?
BECKY: 1:34 Not massively. So I used to work in film a lot more than I do now. Obviously, I'm sort of dipping my toe back into it with script reading, which is a lot of fun. Nowadays, when I do get a chance to see a film it's more about am I guaranteed had a very good romp, a good time, is it gonna be worth the money and the effort. And to be honest there a lot of long running times out there. If it's 90 minutes or less, that is obviously a bonus. And when I'm script reading, if I receive a script that is over 90 pages, I tend to think 'uhhh' that's probably gonna be my first note is pace. Like there's probably some fat you can trim here because you can tell any story in 90 minutes. I'm convinced of this. So it's not a huge factor when I'm picking a film to watch. But it's definitely a factor when I'm reviewing a film in the script form.
SAM: 2:16 That's good. We've not really on this podcast got into the sort of script element of producing and making a film like this. But it must be nice when you see that the wedge of paper is a little bit thinner.
BECKY: 2:28 If it's not in three figures on the page count then I'm very happy.
SAM: 2:33 So for this podcast, we've asked you to choose just one film. How did you approach this task? And how did you settle on the film you've chosen?
BECKY: 2:40 Well, Sam, I began by really testing your patience! I grasped the concept of the 90 Minutes or Less Film Festival but I didn't entirely stick to it. So I came to you with a couple of suggestions, like one of my favourite films Grabbers, which is a brilliant creature feature, which is at 94 minutes. And then I also suggested Mean Girls at 93 minutes and you were very kind and said 'great, bangers, absolute bangers of films, but I need to be really anal about this' and so okay, fine. And then I found three. One was Toy Story which has been reviewed on here already. What We Do In The Shadows is only 87 minutes. Good one, but I decided to go with a little revenge thriller Blue Ruin.
[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Jingle]
BECKY: Which is bang on 90, unless you just go by script and discount the credits and then it's only 86 minutes.
SAM: 3:29 I didn't even think about the credits! No one's made that argument yet. 'Well, actually, it's 90 if you take off the credits', but I guess for the film festival we would have to show the credits because we would want the gaffers to get their just desserts. Well Blue Ruin is an absolutely banging choice. According to the back of the DVD, Dwight Evans is a mysterious outsider who’s quiet life on the margins is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. "The revenge thriller of the year" The Evening Standard, "intelligent and thrilling, recalls the dark wit of the Coens" Total Film. What a synopsis. At this point, we should probably point out there will be spoilers for the film Blue Ruin.
BECKY: 4:17 Yeah, I was trying to write notes that didn't spoil anything but it's quite hard to talk about this and not give things away because so much happens so early on.
SAM: 4:26 Well I think we want to get under the hood of this film and listeners if you haven't seen the film yet it is readily available on streaming platforms. So pause the podcast, have a watch, it's only 90 minutes. So Becky, why Blue Ruin?
BECKY: 4:41 So I've listened to the episodes of this podcast that've gone out already and the films like The Producers and Toy Story, and they're films I think a lot of people will have already seen. Blue Ruin came out about five years ago, in the middle of an unexpectedly very hot May weekend for about two minutes. And I don't think as many people who should have seen it did go and see it. So I thought a good opportunity to talk about this because I was just in love with this film, I was like no, don't be in the sun, be in a dark room watching this really like graphic revenge thriller! But I just, I love I feel like this is a perfect, perfectly structured script. It's a very, very good film. It does a lot with very, very little. The production story behind it is really interesting. It's just a very taut thriller. There's no fat on it whatsoever. And I think if you're looking for perfect storytelling, this is it. This is a great example. I think every film course should show it.
SAM: 5:34 That's quite an endorsement. Considering one of your, one of your, the many hats you wear. It's also quite untraditional though, so it is a, the back of the box says revenge thriller revenge thriller. The revenge happens very early in the narrative. It's sort of the outcome of a revenge thriller almost.
BECKY: 5:51 Exactly. Yeah. Basically, the whole third act is like 80 minutes. There's so many different options he could have gone with this story I suppose. What I really like about it is that it does a lot of stuff that you just, it's like a series of things that you just wouldn't expect. It kind of goes against what most cinema tells us is going to happen. And yeah, so I mean, how early should we start spoiling things?
SAM: 6:13 I mean, we could we can spoil things from the get go. We've put the spoiler warning up. We're in spoilerville, right now.
BECKY: 6:19 Okay. So we've got we've got Dwight who's our homeless drifter. And then he, I love the opening so much it does so, like the first act is pretty much wordless. Except for this lovely police officer who comes and picks Dwight up who's sleeping in a car.
SAM: 6:34 She mostly talks at him, it’s not really a conversation which is quite nice.
BECKY: 6:38 Yeah, he says very little. And there's a point he makes later on where he says, I'm sorry, I'm not used to talking this much. And it's just, oh, he's so alone. She brings him into the station and just reassures him that you're not in trouble, that we're I'll tell you when you get there, and she just wants him to be somewhere safe when he finds out that the man who killed his parents has been released from prison. And this happened 20 years ago, and it's obviously deeply affected him because he's kind of on the fringes of society now. From the 0 minute mark to the 20 minute mark, a shitload happens. And he, you know, he finds out that the killer is on the loose, well not on the loose, you know, he's been released, and he goes about tooling up, and then he encounters the killer. And then he kills him. And then and then you're into the meat of the movie. Oh, usually this would happen at like the 60 minute mark.
SAM: 7:25 It's so economical in terms of, you mentioned, it is a, it's an independent film, it's very low budget, and you feel like everything, they've really like, they've done all the pre-production. So when they film they're not wasting any time or money. So we need to hook people. And you think like, I guess how independent films get distributed, they go to film festivals. They've made the first 20 minutes so gripping, you could not turn this off if you're film festival programmer. It's very smart.
BECKY: 7:50 I think Dwight, he's just, he's such a brilliantly realised character. It's such a tiny performance by Macon Blair who, and it certainly, yeah it's very tiny, very kind of restrained, and he's not, you know, you look at other revenge kind of stories. And he's like, he's not Inigo Montoya. He's, he's not cool. He's also not performatively uncool. He's just I think he reacts and, and responds to everything that happens to him and kind of just like how you and I would. I'm not saying that you wouldn't be a very good killer Sam. But I mean, he's pretty inept. I feel like I would be pretty inept. Everything that could possibly go wrong for him does go wrong for him. He's not cold blooded by by any stretch. He's deeply broken in this very emotional series of events for him. There's like one particular moment when he does encounter the man who killed his parents. And he you see it affect him very deeply, emotionally like he, he's hiding in the bathroom, like he's gone into the lion’s den essentially, with this man and his entire family. He's hiding in the bathroom, he's got the knife. Other people come into the bathroom, and you see it suddenly impact him that that emotion. He's terrified. And you just think, yeah, I would be too. It's just it's so good.
SAM: 9:05 As part of the challenge when crafting this character in this film, it's a revenge thriller where you follow the person who's taking revenge, but you have to be sympathetic towards this man who basically wants to kill another man. And Macon Blair plays it so well. He's got these very emotive eyes. He's got this beautiful, expressive face. Even though for the first like, first third of the film, it's hidden by this giant beard because he's been living in his car for so long. But he's still his eyes can like punch above the fuzz. And that's, that's all you need. In that scene when the killing happens the camera just like gets this really great shot of his face. And you can see deep into his eyes how, like, torn he is about what he's done.
BECKY: 9:43 Yeah, it's awful. He's not you know, he's not a natural born killer. He's very smart. He's savvy, he knows how to survive, he really doesn't know how to kill.
SAM: 9:50 There's a great scene just before that, where he steals a gun with the lock still on, and he's trying to break the lock off, and he ends up just breaking the whole gun.
BECKY: 9:57 It's just, it's just everything that could possibly go wrong does and you think yeah, god, if I had to try and kill someone, that's probably how it would go for me as well. And that's kind of what makes it, it's really brutal and graphic throughout the whole film, but it's also weirdly very funny. And I know people have made the Coen brothers reference quite a lot but I think it kind of sits a little bit of separate from Coen brothers in that way. I think the Coen brothers kind of humour is a little bit performative in that sense, whereas this is just, it's kind of purely coincidental. Like the bit where it's later on in the film, he's changed his appearance by this point, and do you feel when he shaves his beard off and cuts his hair he looks a bit like Nathan Lane?
SAM: 10:37 To bring it back to The Producers I definitely see a bit of Nathan Lane there. He's got that I guess you don't normally see faces like his in terms of the actors, because he's like a slightly older guy. He'd never be the lead but he's got this great face. He might be in like a Steve Buscemi type role. Like the supporting character actor. But Macon Blair's not really done that in his career and it's quite bold that he had been in a couple of films before this, another film with director Jeremy Saulnier because they're best friends and have made films together all their lives. But they said in the making of this film, he was always going to be the lead but he's not a lead. So they had to write the film around that and I think that's one of the reasons why he's quite inept because if you cast, I don't know like a more typical star, a Bruce Willis or something in this, he would be able to get the lock off the gun. He wouldn't feel regret when he kills the guy. But it's like no, Macon is going to be in it so I'm gonna, knowing he's in it, I can make this character a bit more inept, a bit more of an every man who's sort of quite torn and it's so smart. And that's that's one of the best selling points of this film. Then, ironically, the lack of star power suits this film so well.
BECKY: 11:44 But what star power it does have. Yeah, you've got to sort of little surprise cameos that I really enjoy. One being Devin Ratray, who I think kids, people our age, kids our age, people our age, remember as Buzz McAllister from Home Alone. So he plays like the third act hero, I guess essentially, Ben Gaffney. And he, who’s the guy you really want on your side when you're in a jam. He's amazing. And I find competence incredibly attractive, I was very attracted to Ben Gaffney. And, and then you've got a Brady Bunch member in there, remember Jan Brady? Eve Plumb, she's like one of the members of the family. The fact that I think Macon has, he's just like some rando that you, you wouldn't pay any attention to down the street, it just, it really brings a lot more to the role. And it makes him a lot more of an interesting character. So a lot happens to poor Dwight, there's one bit where he gets shot with a crossbow. Like how could his day get any worse. And he's trying to handle that. So he goes into a shop and just buys some, you know, some thread, some stuff, a lot of rubbing alcohol. He's buying some stuff at the till, and he hands over money, it's got blood on it. And the cashier looks at him, just like oh Jesus. I think in any other film, maybe with any other actor, there would be some kind of quip or some kind of excuse. And he just looks and goes 'I...yep' and just walks out. I just guffawed with laughter, I forgot how funny that bit was. And it's just you just think, yeah, that shouldn't be. It's incredibly dark. And it's like kind of graveside humour, which I really, really enjoy in this sort of thing. Everyone go watch it, is essentially what I'm trying to say.
SAM: 13:23 Because it was marketed as a thriller and it sort of is to a point, but it does, it knows the genre so well. It knows where it can take a left turn which will play with the audience's expectations. Like someone being wounded, and then not being able to deal with it. Even though they do try. So the scene after that is him actually trying to remove the arrow, from his leg, which is so gross. The gore in this film, Jeremy Saulnier's previous film was called Murder Party. And I mean, just that title alone lets you know that this is someone who is good with gore, and they use lots of prosthetics and models. And that is the most graphic thing, the arrow sticking out of his leg. And the blood like dripping out.
BECKY: 14:02 Getting it out! Blergh. Yeah, it's so well done, right? When you watch the behind the scenes, and you see how they put that all together it's 'Oh, this is fine' but when you're in the moment, and you're watching it for the first time, it is a little bit like just watching through your fingers.
SAM: 14:15 I remember that from the cinema. Because we, I remember, I worked on the release of this film, and I was like, it's quite funny and then the gore happened I was like urgh! It's a 15 guys, guys it's a 15.
BECKY: 14:25 I forgot it's a 15! 15 year olds shouldn't want to watch this. No they should, they should, no they shouldn't, should they? I'm conflicted.
FILM CLIP from Blue Ruin 14:39
Dwight: I killed him. Wade Cleland, I killed him.
Sam: What? Bullshit. When?
Dwight: I think yesterday.
Dwight: I thought he'd kill me first.
SAM: 14:52 Just before we get to the point where he gets the arrow wound when he's defending a house, we meet his sister. So you say the first 20 minutes or so is pretty much dialogue free. His sister is played by Amy Hargreaves and that's the first proper conversation we get and there's lots of backstory. And I was wondering, as someone who reads a lot of scripts, how do you feel about sort of, like kind of saving up a lot of information for one conversation like that? Because it's very heavy on backstory at that point in the film?
BECKY: 15:20 Yeah, I think it earns it. I think in that instance, like, yeah, the first 20 minutes, it's, it assumes that you are smart enough to follow what is going on and just pick up the clues that it like, you know, it's it's a very cliche thing to say, but it does a really good job of showing and not telling. Which is like one of my usual notes on scripts, it's like stop telling me this, just show me. And I think it's, it just works really well, you've got two very, very good performances. And just they they do manage to squeeze quite a lot in in that very short conversation. And what I really like is that they don't just use that conversation to give you a lot of backstory that would be quite hard to tell in any other way. Like you've picked up a lot already so far but you kind of need that extra information to drive you through the rest of the story. But they use it in a fantastic way, like the sound design on that scene is really interesting in a way, it really build up the tension. So all their silences in the conversation while they are explaining some more of the backstory behind things, you've got all these cars that are kind of going past in the quiet moments. And they make a really, it's almost very pointed that each sentence is sort of punctuated by car going by, and you're like, 'oh, god, they're not safe, someone is going to come and get them'! And then the conversation ends with him, him realizing, because he's been checking the news, no one has called the police about it. So I think it works because the conversation serves more than one function. It's one, give us a bit of backstory, but also build up that additional tension and then drive the story forward even more. So I think in those instances, yeah, that really works. It just earns it.
SAM: 15:23 I mean, like a lot of American genre films, it's a big scene in a diner, and it's a very busy diner, and they're talking about, I mean, he says, I killed him. And it's so busy, I was just thinking, you've just admitted that to the whole restaurant. You're always thinking in films, there's always you know, we can hear it but in the reality of the film, maybe other customers can't hear what they're saying. But then a guy leans over and says, ‘can I get the ketchup?' during this really serious conversation, oh, no, no people can hear what he's saying!
BECKY: 17:15 Again, it's another like weirdly funny thing, but something that would happen in this very unusual bizarre situation. Yeah, somebody probably would lean over, be like, 'can I get a little bit of red sauce?' Yeah, it's just so so well done. I love in scripts, when you've got a funny moment that's then punctuated with something quite serious. So you've got this, this very intensely emotional scene between the two of them where they're, it's like the first time they've seen each other in a very long time. And you know, the last time they saw each other probably was around the death of their parents. And then you've got this bizarrely humorous moment, and then Dwight realizing, oh, crap, the kids are in danger.
SAM: 17:51 And him announcing his arrival by a postcard and his sister pointing out that postcards take longer to arrive then regular mail so she hasn't, she wasn't expecting to see him. What did you think of that scene where the boot is finally opened? Dwight finally has his gun and he's ready to do the big sort of confession scene.
BECKY: 18:11 It's wonderful. So this is again, for script fans is our first climax of the film where we answer the first question, what's he going to do about the guy in the boot? It's just done incredibly well. So this follows Ben Gaffney, our lovely Devin Ratray, Mr. Competent, whom I love. And this is where Dwight has managed to finally get hold of a firearm, and he is going to now confront man in boot and the guy in the boot is a lot more savvy. It feels like he's kind of done this before, he knows what he's doing. We feel like if if the film had been in his hands, things would have been over in 20 minutes, but obviously, Dwight is just he's got the gun so he has the power. And the good point the guy in the boot makes is that, you know, the guy with the gun gets to tell the truth. And so I should probably explain the guy in the boot. So he is the brother of the man who killed Dwight's parents. And it's just become this sort of, this meeting actually serves another really great function is that it tells us a bit more backstory that we hadn't realized before that, another massive spoiler, the killer didn't do it! It was the Wade senior, who had cancer. So the son took the fall and went to prison. And there was an affair going on between the Dad and Dwight's... no, Dwight's Dad, and the killer's Mum. Yes, that's it. So basically, the more you go back, you realize that as the film goes on, it's this quite sort of Shakespearean kind of backdrop, which I love. It's great because it starts out such a small film and then the more and more you go, it just it spirals into this really interesting, yeah, I love I love bit of writing like that.
FILM CLIP from Blue Ruin 19:43
Dwight: You came to my sister's house, were you coming for me or for her?
Teddy: Look, man...you.
Dwight: Why didn't you just call the police, send me to jail?
Teddy: Same as you, just keeping it in house.
BECKY: 19:58 So we've got this really great kind of play with status with the guy in the boot and Dwight. Teddy? Teddy is his name. That's it. Yeah. And he does a really clever thing with pretending to make a phone call and he's not really making a phone call. And he's just a lot smarter. He really outwits Dwight but luckily, Dwight has some backup, Mr. Competent. And it's such a good moment when you hear, you hear it before you see it. You hear the bullet flying through the air, which confuses the two of them. And then you see Mr. Competent appear in the middle of nowhere. He's had to wait for him to, wait for Teddy to try and like, have intent to shoot Dwight, because he manages to get the gun off him. And he was able to shoot him. And that's another, if you've watched the making of the film, that's a really great moment where you see how they achieve the prosthetics on that, because it's pretty effin gross. You see just half of his face fly off into the grass.
SAM: 20:48 The camera's focused on the guy with the gun, he's threatening to shoot the guy. And it's, you're all looking at his face, cuz he's talking and then half of it flies off. A lot of the violence in this film is very sort of quick, but very what I assume is realistic, but it doesn't really like, it doesn't focus on it too much it doesn't linger or sort of celebrate it. It's like violence is violent, and it's gory, but it also happens so quick. And every sort of murder or bit of aggression is over so quickly, but it's all about the fallout from that, before and after.
BECKY: 21:22 Yeah, just everything sort of escalates. I mean, it could very well have been a very good, tight short film, ending with, you know, the first kill, but you know, violence begets violence, and so on and so forth. And they make a really good, I think it's like later on when we get to the showdown and Dwight says, 'I make that two of your guys, two of my guys, I mean, we could just keep going'. And well, yeah, they do.
SAM: 21:44 Well, because of the phone call, he realizes that the family of the killer now know that he's after them and what's happened. So he now has to go and intercept the message or the family. And that's sort of the third act of the film is him, leaving Buzz from Home Alone, and he's got a corpse in his trunk now.
BECKY: 22:02 As if it couldn't get worse!
SAM: 22:04 There's also a really important line in that sort of middle bit of the film where, I think it's Buzz who says, you know, if you're holding the gun, don't make a speech, because that will be your downfall. And then, there's the payoff later in the film, how do you feel about sort of planting lines earlier in the script? It's like the Chekhov's gun thing, I guess. How do you feel about that, when you see that in the screenplay?
BECKY: 22:24 I love a payoff! When I'm going through scripts, like I'll, if I sense a payoff coming, I'll sort of make little notes like 'this better be bloody paid off later' and if it does, it's just like a little, little squeal moment for an audience. I think that's because it's just such a satisfying moment, one it makes an audience member feel really clever, and two, it's just good storytelling. It's just I really like that.
SAM: 22:42 So after this, we've had a bit of an action scene, there's been a gunshot, a violent wound. Okay, so that's this, the film is going into, it's all guns blazing into the third act, Dwight shows up to the family of killers home, and they're not there. And they're not there for at least two days, so the film shows you how this guy's got his timing so wrong. And he's just killing time in their house. He's broken in. He has, he has, this is like probably one of the things that actually works out for him. He sweeps the house, got rid of all the guns, or has he? He's got a plan and he's even made a little fort out of armchairs and dining room tables. So he's like, he thinks he's as ready as he possibly can be. But then the film just shows you killing time in their house. Which again, I've never really seen in a revenge thriller, like it really makes you, it makes you feel the gap between each incident. So when things do happen, I think it feels even more psychologically, it feels like it's even quicker than it actually is.
BECKY: 23:39 It's a wonderful tension builder. It's that, again, to make a very lazy comparison but it's that kind of Hitchcockian sort of thing where, you know, you're told from the very beginning, this is going to happen. And then it takes a long time to get you there. And because you know it's happening, like everything is very tense all the time. So you know, you know, the showdown is going to happen, you know, the family is aware that he's taken out now two of their guys and, and they're coming, and they're tooled up, and they know how to use a gun, and he does not, he is the most inept killer in the world. So I love that drawn out sequence. I even love little touches, like, he wants to leave a message on the machine, because he becomes aware that they ring the answer machine to check for any messages from when they're not there. He attempts to leave a message, but he's stood too close to the machine. So then he has to go outside, because it makes a horrible bit of feedback. And even then, that just highlights he's just, he's gonna mess this up completely isn't he? And he kind of does towards the end as well. And then yeah, when they have the final showdown, it's just such a great payoff. And even then, even when they're in the house, and he's drawing out his moment to kind of reveal himself even that is just like, another great tension builder. It just it, and for a film that's so taught, and again, has no fat on it whatsoever, it is still manages to find time to give you those long drawn out moments. It's just sooo well done. I love it.
SAM: 25:04 He knows that by engaging with the family, it will probably result in him being killed as well. And he even says that to his sister, like, I don't think I'm going to be able to come out of this. But us as audience members were like, 'no, he's the protagonist, he'll be absolutely fine!'. But he, he doesn't pay attention to Devin Ratray and he does make the speech.
BECKY: 25:24 He makes the speech! He makes it personal and that will be the end.
SAM: 25:28 When you first heard him make the speech did you think ah, he's a goner?
BECKY: 25:31 What did Mr. Competence just tell you? Don't make the speech. Don't make it personal. But he does. And I mean, how could you not make it personal? If you're in his shoes? Again, if I was in his shoes, I would be just as inept and I would probably make it just as personal but yeah, it's it's just tragic. It's it's a great tragedy. It is, it's a Shakespearean tragedy. It's wonderful. It starts very, very small and then it just branches out and then you see that there's this whole chorus of characters who are also very invested in this story and we could follow anyone really who's tied up in this and still get a fantastic experience. But I just love that we follow Macon's character Dwight, because it's just it's fascinating. He's such a good, I say his sad bloody eyes all the way through this and, it's just a fantastic film. I can't stop gushing about it. Everyone go see it! Or stream it.
FILM CLIP from Blue Ruin 26:20
Ben Gaffney: May 14, gun show. No papers. It's carbine, just means it's short. Semi-auto. Fires every time you pull the trigger. 20 rounds, very reliable. And I got extra ammo. You recognize it? Duh duh duh duh! It's the A-Team gun man, from the show.
SAM: 26:43 So this is the second film from Jeremy Saulnier the director. Have you followed his career since, because this was the film that for both him and Macon Blair it sort of got them back into filmmaking. I think this was a last ditch attempt. And you know, they tried, they dabbled, they did various jobs. On the making of feature Jeremy Saulnier says how he was a professional Director of Photography for three years, just like to earn some money, but it paid off because he's got the sole Director of Photography credit on Blue Ruin and as well as writing it and directing it. And they went all in, they mortgaged their house, they borrowed money from friends and family, they even Kickstartered it. But it's so nice to see that he is now consistently working.
BECKY: 27:20 Yeah, it's great. You're right, it was their last ditch attempt at sort of making it big in the movie business, because they've been making stuff together since they were kids pretty much, the best friends from high school. And like you said, they made Murder Party and they, I think they were hoping off the back of that it would be their, you know, their in into the industry, didn't quite work out. So I think they just piled everything they had into Blue Ruin. And it was like it's gonna be a last blast and and then we'll just call it a day. But luckily it did really well. And I love what you said about his sort of cinematography experience, because it really shows in this film that he's the writer, director and cinematographer. And you know that thing where good cinematography is you can pause a film at any point and the shot that you land on just looks good. That happens the entire way through Blue Ruin. And it really shows. I haven't seen Green Room, his follow up with Mr. Patrick Stewart, sorry, Sir Patrick Stewart. All the respect. I was just watching some people talk, you know, talk about the films generally. And when you see side by side shots from Blue Ruin and Green Room, even the kind of colour tinting throughout the shots is really, really great. So Blue Ruin is generally quite blue and then Green Room is generally quite green. So I'm looking forward to I don't know, Purple Haze? Red Rum?
SAM: 28:34 His third film has now come out on to Netflix. It's called Hold The Dark and I was so gutted it wasn't like Red Rum or something. I want it to be like the famous Edgar Wright three cornetto trilogy. Or the even more famous Three Colours trilogy from Kieślowski. But he but, I want I want a third colour film, Jeremy Saulnier, any colour will do. We talked about how this film was made kind of on, the character is on the fringe, he's desperate. The filmmakers themselves, this is their last ditch attempt they've gone all in. I mean, if this film didn't pay off, god knows what they'd be doing now. They put their house up for this film, but it did pay off. And it's kind of that really nice story you sometimes get with films, they do the festival circuit, they get that big distribution deal, then you're in Hollywood kid! And it doesn't, we don't hear about it so often these days, because more often than not things go to Netflix and everybody sees it. But it was something you got in the 70s 80s 90s was films premiering at Sundance. And that's how Steven Soderbergh launched his career. And I think maybe with Jeremy Saulnier, it's a similar thing. They rushed this film to get into the Cannes Film Festival and they had to cut their post production down from two months to three weeks to hit the deadline. But they did it. And not only that, it won the big prize in the Directors Fortnight strand that it was submitted to. And it's like, it's not your first time film, but it's the first film that's getting a wide audience and getting into those prestige festivals. It's won the top prize, you made it against all odds. you edited it somehow in three weeks. And then it did get that sort of distribution deal which is so nice to see.
BECKY: 30:08 It's just a good, it's a great Hollywood success story. Underdogs succeeding in the face of adversity. It's just another reason why this film is so, is so good to watch because much like Dwight, they had everything against them. And it's one of those things where I think quite encouraging to up and coming filmmakers who might feel like 'uh, I'm never gonna get my big break' like try hard but also write a very tight script.
SAM: 30:32 You don't have to rush to get your film made. You need to do it when it's right and Blue Ruin feels so right.
[90 Mins or Less Film Fest Jingle]
SAM: 30:42 So Blue Ruin is in the 90 Minutes or Less Film Festival.
BECKY: 30:48 Yay!
SAM: 30:48 Which is fantastic. It's also the first 15 I believe in the film festival and definitely the first revenge thriller.
BECKY: 30:54 Brilliant.
SAM: 30:55 So lots of firsts.
BECKY: 30:56 Lovely.
SAM: 30:56 So how do you feel audiences will respond to this film? Now, you mentioned earlier that maybe it didn't have the biggest theatrical release when this first came out in 2014.
BECKY: 31:05 Yeah, it was just bad timing. The weather was too good. So not many people got a chance to see it. Hopefully it's had a better reception on home entertainment releases.
SAM: 31:14 I think some of the films we have are sort of iconic status. And I think the challenge for a festival sometimes is if you are very sure of a film but it doesn't have all of those great marketing hooks. What's your angle for Blue Ruin?
BECKY: 31:27 Well first I mean it had really great word of mouth the first time around but I think just you know the climate wasn't working for it, so hopefully this will be a case of a lot of people who went 'Oh no, I heard great things about this oh good I get to see this again' and also the draw of getting to see this kind of film on the big screen as well is also really good. But I was thinking what kind of gimmick am I going to do to get people, get bums on seats in the screening and then I thought I might, much like the film kind of does and kind of do things you won't expect I will also do that with the screenings. So I thought [giggles], thought I would go for a Family Funday Sunday screening vibe.
SAM: 32:02 Oh wow! You're thinking of like an early, like matinee type time?
BECKY: 32:05 I'm thinking like you know, themed 3D sunglasses, face painting, but more in terms of like prosthetics and an open bar but it's just rubbing alcohol. We've got a shooting range, you get to take away like free knives and crossbows for everyone, little sewing kits and scalpels if you want one. Cosplay to encourage people to come along, making it a drive-in screening just have loads of cars lined up with bullet holes in them.
SAM: 32:33 Very good yes.
BECKY: 32:34 You can watch the film outside on screen.
SAM: 32:36 Then you sleep in the car afterwards?
BECKY: 32:37 You can have a little sleepover afterwards as well. Obviously we'll get guests, so get, you know Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair along, but also Jan Brady herself Eve Plumb, even though she's in the film for all of about 30 seconds. And Mr. Competence, this is purely a booking for me, so I can meet Buzz McAllister. But I think he's definitely a draw for people from our generation certainly. So yeah, I think just make the screening a lot of fun, give a lot of freebies away, make it kind of weirdly darkly comic, like the film. And hopefully that'll get bums on seats.
SAM: 33:10 That would be I mean, the film didn't really have that when it first came out because it was doing the very prestigious festival run. People weren't doing those fun screenings. So maybe now we've had a bit of time, we've all thought about what they did. We can have that fund, and it's like a whole day's worth of activity.
BECKY: 33:23 Exactly.
SAM: 33:24 And also you need to sort of decompress afterwards. And I was thinking maybe, maybe, because there's a good scene where he shaves his beard off, maybe there's like a groomers. Everybody stays in their seats, and the seat's actually like a Barber's chair. And then you get, you know, whatever you want, you get your hair done, get your beard trimmed.
BECKY: 33:43 Fantastic!
SAM: 33:44 But as Macon Blair's there he could actually do it.
BECKY: 33:47 Oh he could do it for you.
SAM: 33:47 Because we know he's good.
BECKY: 33:49 We know he's great. It's such a clean shave that he does. Very very good.
SAM: 33:53 Okay, well, that's probably got the most fun and interactive screening in the festival for probably the darkest and goriest film in the festival.
BECKY: 34:00 I'm glad I delivered there, cool
[90 Mins or Less Outro Bed]
SAM: 34:10 Well, thank you so much for that, and for programming, this delightful film. It really is a must see film. And I think you're right. It's just great to get it back on a big screen. And people who maybe missed it first time around because they were playing in the park, can some to this special screening and experience this full day of activities that you've created.
BECKY: I'm so glad.
SAM: Fantastic. All right, Becky, where can people hear more from you on the Internet?
BECKY: 34:32 So I, like you mentioned earlier I do a podcast called And Then What? which is a storytelling podcast where myself and my co-host Amy Jones, we just talk about stories essentially. Things that we found, things we've heard, things that we've written, every fortnight we basically just try and make each other laugh or cry. So usually really dark messed up folk tales, silly voices, and some kind of reference to the cat messing up our recording. And then if there are any budding screenwriters out there who would like a second pair of eyes on their script, then you can find me on Twitter @RabbitInAHat and just give me a shout and I'm very happy to look over your work.
SAM: 35:06 That's very kind of you. If they say Blue Ruin, did they get a secret handshake?
BECKY: 35:11 They get a little discount on already very reasonable prices.
SAM: 35:16 Well, thank you very much for spending time with us this morning, to talk about Blue Ruin. And thank you listeners for listening to us waffle on about this very violent film. Thank you for listening. If you like what you heard, please give us a little rating. If you're listening on Apple Podcasts, love those, do subscribe, do tell your friends. We're still in the early days of the pod so all word of mouth or social media noise is very welcome. Speaking of social media, you can follow us on Twitter @90minfilmfest and it's the same on Instagram. We've done some good stories today. You won't have seen them because we're recording this in the past, but there will be good stories when you look at this also. The show was produced by me, Sam Clements and Louise Owen, who's sat in the corner. Our music is by Martin Austwick, the show was edited by Luke Smith and our artwork is by the very talented Sam Gilbey. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with a brand new film. Goodbye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai