Starring: Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Reilly, William H. Macy
Directed by: David M. Rosenthal
Synopsis: The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.
I was tipped off about A Single Shot courtesy of a review by Isaac here. He stated some points that, after watching the movie for myself, I can readily agree with.
First the story. Sam Rockwell plays John, a down on his luck, unemployed guy who likes to go and hunt deer. One day in the woods he mistakenly shoots a girl dead. He disposes of the body in some sort of storage container-cum-house. In there he finds a box of money, which he takes. This leads to a whole host of nasty criminals to his door, wanting their money back.
The first thing that I was struck with, following Isaac’s assessment is this. Unless you were born and raised in West Virginia, you will probably need subtitles. Great swathes of conversation passed me by because I simply couldn’t understand what anyone was mumbling. Seriously, there is authenticity and there is unintelligible talking. If it’s a movie, the authenticity probably needs to be toned down a bit so we can follow what’s going on!
Secondly, as Isaac pointed out, some of the scenes filmed inside are pretty hard to make out. They are lit pretty badly, which again points to authenticity but doesn’t help the viewer in the slightest.
The film itself was a fairly decent thriller, with some good (I think, although I can’t necessarily tell because of the aforementioned reasons) performances from everyone involved. I think the ending was the usual contrived and cliched Hollywood ending involving a hostage situation. The film should have been better than that. I think the fact that a film with a cast as good as this is little known points to it’s flaws.
My wife summed it up pretty well at the end when she said it was like a poor man’s No Country For Old Men. I can’t really argue against that.