Kickstarter, for all of the attention that its campaigns grab in the news, has had a curious output, especially when it comes to movies.
The truly successful funding drives are typically limited to niches, and in a way, the same is true about the high-profile film projects that the site made possible, which appealed pretty specifically to "Veronica Mars" and Zach Braff fans. But to make a case for itself as a valuable film funding platform, Kickstarter needed to produce something original and in the spirit of its original, grass-roots mission.
Thankfully, that's exactly what "Blue Ruin" is.
The second feature film from writer-director Jeremy Saulnier didn't grab headlines when it surpassed its modest funding goal of $35,000 in the summer of 2012, but the movie world quickly started paying attention when it premiered at Cannes in 2013 to rave reviews.
Now, "Blue Ruin" is about to hit select theaters, iTunes and On Demand, and you owe it to yourself to see what Kickstarter is really capable of when it comes to movies: bringing original visions to the screen from talented, but lesser-known artists.
What makes "Blue Ruin" worthy of a wide audience is how it strikes a balance between art-house filmmaking and a genre story. Similar to "True Detective," the revenge thriller plot of "Blue Ruin" is only a surface device to get at bigger, more interesting questions.
The film follows Dwight (Macon Blair), a beach bum living an aimless life until he learns that the man responsible for his parents' deaths is being released from prison. The news sends Dwight on a road of revenge that extends far beyond what he ever intended.
With "Blue Ruin," Saulnier uses his great technical ability to tell a story of the senselessness of traditional, movie-style vengeance in a way that is tense and never bogged down by its message.
It's a story that deserved to be told and one that might not have been ever heard without Kickstarter.
"Blue Ruin" hits theaters, iTunes and On Demand on April 25.