MiniKicker – Blue Ruin, Cold In July, Locke

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Its time again for some MiniKickers, short reviews that let you know what’s worth watching among recent releases. If I had to come up with a theme for this edition it would be movies about men trying to do the right thing which involves hurting others. These three movies were all critically acclaimed when they were in cinemas, but how do they stack up now after this flurry of praise has calmed down? Let’s find out.

Blue Ruin (2013)

I always regret ordering spaghetti bolognese too
I always regret ordering spaghetti bolognese too

This American revenge drama came out of nowhere and was much loved for very good reasons. It tells its story about a man plotting to kill the person who murdered his parents. Obviously there are complications and events spiral out of control. Macon Blair plays the main character beautifully as the camera focuses on everything he does until we build up a picture of a tortured man. Blue Ruin is a gut-punch of a movie that treats revenge with a kind of respect resulting in something very special.

7/10

Cold In July (2014)

Don's blind date took a turn for the strange
Don’s blind date took a turn for the strange

Coincidentally another revenge drama but this time with an all-star cast. Michael C. Hall plays a normal Texas family man who one night shoots an intruder in his home. From here things get more complicated as he’s dragged into a conspiracy that’s full of twists and surprises. The first third is quite dull until Don Johnson rocks up in a Cadillac with cow horns on it and the movie takes flight. The gear changes and it becomes an excellent black-comedy with action elements and great performances.

8/10

Locke (2013)

‘Mastery of small, telling gestures’: Tom Hardy as a man who goes awol in Locke.
“Now you have my permission to drive!”

Finally we have one of the strangest films you’ll see all year, Locke stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke a construction site foreman driving to London to confront a past mistake. The entire film is just Hardy in his car in real time talking to friends and family on the phone. In different hands and with a different actor this could have been incredibly dull. Instead Hardy is mesmerizing, emoting with his face and voice beautifully (with a very cool Welsh accent). Once you know fully what’s going on it loses momentum and the journey feels longer but as an experiment in film-making and acting Locke is fully recommended.

7/10

Agree with these? If you wanted to go on a revenge fueled rampage, who would your first victim be? We’ll keep it between you and me, i promise.

30 comments

  1. See 2/3 of this list – not seen cold on July. Agree totally, 2 excellent indie films. Might I suggest 7 Is slightly harsh? Might I also say that both films fall down in the last 3rd? They simply can’t sustain the plot till the credits. Both films are a must see of 2014 however!

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  2. I probably liked Locke more than you did. I agree on Blue Ruin but haven’t seen Cold in July.

    If I was going on a revenge spree I’d probably start with Theresa May. She’s an evil bitch.

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  3. Hmm. . .I think I’d only put Locke up a touch. I’d give it the 8 or even 8.5. That was a brilliant piece of cinema. It did sort of frustrate me a little at the end, I thought we were actually going to get some closure. But alas. . . . another strange conclusion.

    Great Minikickers

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  4. Haven’t seen Cold in July (though apparently I need to!) but I’m glad to hear you liked the other two. For me, Blue Ruin is up there with the best this year and I really enjoyed Locke as well, one that should be commended for its simple invention.

    Adam.

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  5. Great mini reviews Mikey! Haven’t seen Cold in July nor Blue Ruin, the latter looks far too intense for my feeble nerves. I did like LOCKE, I rated it a bit higher than you. It’s an intriguing flick that manages to be gripping considering there’s nothing going on the entire time, but man, Hardy’s certainly got the chaps to carry this one-man show.

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  6. Haven’t seen the other two and not sure if I would like Locke, but Blue Ruin is a really great film and a great film experience for me (meeting the director after the Q&A screening & interviewing Macon Blair for my podcast)

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  7. Only seen Blue Ruin on here, but it was FANTASTIC. I was so engrossed with it. Locke is still high up on my watch list. I just need more time in my life for watching things.

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