Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Somewhere between a coal black American pastoral and the restrained brutality of a Nicolas Winding Refn film, Saulnier’s sophomore effort is a chilling, minimalist, and bloody revenge thriller and cat and mouse game taking place in bucolic rural and suburban settings.
Dwayne (Macon Blair) has been driven mad after the murder of his parents a decade prior. He lives out of his rusted out 1990 Pontiac Bonneville lying in wait for the day the culprit is released. He sets out to enact his vengeance, but things go awry, forcing him to go on the run from the murderous family he just pissed off. He also puts his sister and her family in harm’s way as a result of his actions.
Saulnier has crafted the rare thriller that can stay intense without ever feeling the need to mount fast past action sequences or force feed the audience exposition. It certainly owes a lot of Refn’s economic brand of storytelling, but it strips away the flash and style. It hits with the impact of an old board with paint chipping off of it and rusty nails sticking out. There’s nothing pretty or simple about Dwayne’s vengeance, and that’s what makes Saulnier’s work all the more human and tragic. (Andrew Parker)
Monday, September 9th, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 8:00pm
Wednesday, September 11th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 1, 12:00pm