“Just because you left your door wide open for some punk to stroll right in, you think the universe revolves around you.”

Detective William Bendix

Macon Blair’s directorial debut is a surreal genre blend of dark comedy, crime and revenge, unusually fronted by a depressed middle-aged woman pushed over the edge by a burglary and the everyday indifference of others. Melanie Lynskey is a wonderful lead, switching between defeated and determined, with her trademark softly spoken delivery. The humour tends to arise from the absurd or the unexpected, together with the fact that incompetence abounds in nearly every character. Like Daniel Radcliffe, since stardom in the early ’00s Elijah Wood continues to be drawn to misfit loner roles, here an initially obnoxious neighbour who aids Ruth. There is an improvisational sense to the story as Ruth makes up her plan to track down her stolen belongings, aided by the indie movie sense that no character is entirely safe. The closing act is heavily influenced by Tarantino, intersecting plans rapidly unravelling with violent consequences. It is an unusual and entertaining ride, if not a particularly memorable one.