Do you have days when everyone is seemingly conspiring against you? For the heroine of this darkly comic thriller, Melanie Lynskey’s depressed nursing assistant Ruth, those days make up her entire life, which is full of professional unpleasantness, supermarket rudeness, and dog poop on her lawn. The final straw arrives when Ruth is burgled and loses her computer, her prized silverware, and some antidepressants. With the police doing little to solve the crime, Lynskey’s character teams up with Elijah Wood’s oddball, heavy-metal-loving neighbor to track down her possessions.
The quest will lead them to an array of colorful and/or dangerous folks, including a villainous trio played by Jane Levy, Dexter actor Devon Graye, and the Jesus Lizard singer David Yow. Macon Blair’s first film as writer-director won the Grand Jury Prize at the recent Sundance Film Festival, which is an impressive achievement, although the filmmaker certainly has experience with genre movies featuring ill-equipped heroes. Blair played an inept vigilante in Jeremy Saulnier’s terrific 2014 revenge tale Blue Ruin and appeared in the same director’s even better follow-up Green Room, about a punk band held captive by neo-Nazis. Here, Blair uses essentially the same template to reconfigure the buddy-cop film — at one point, Ruth even flashes a toy police badge — with more deliberately comedic, but similarly enjoyable, results. B+