A Single Shot (2013)
Critic Consensus: It has a bleak sense of atmosphere and a terrific performance by Sam Rockwell, but A Single Shot is undercut by its predictable story and slow pace.
David M. Rosenthal's backwoods thriller starts with a bang: a single shot, aimed at a lone deer, that hits and kills a young woman. The hunter, John Moon (Sam Rockwell, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS), watches her die before discovering a box of money near her body. In a desperate panic, he takes the cash - hiring a low-rent lawyer (William H. Macy, FARGO) to fight his wife's (Kelly Reilly, FLIGHT) divorce suit - and attempts to cover up the killing. But when he discovers that the money belonged to a group of hardened criminals, the hunter becomes the hunted in this tense cat-and-mouse struggle in the backwoods of West Virginia. (c) Tribeca … More
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Critic Reviews for A Single Shot
An odd mix of beautifully bleak atmosphere and hammily mannered performances, "A Single Shot" is simultaneously understated and overpowering.
None of these characters, no matter how trashed-up for the down-market occasion, are believable.
Sam Rockwell is one of Hollywood's most underrated actors and he shows why that's the case again in A Single Shot, a rural, neo-noir thriller that slowly pulls the viewer under its veil of mystery.
Audience Reviews for A Single Shot
One Chance, One Secret, One Mistake.
Good FIlm! I love Sam Rockwell. He picks great projects and this no exception. This is not a fast paced feature but I story I really enjoyed. Maintained a great tension and foreboding throughout which I really enjoy in a film. This is a simple story with some great twists and turns. Starts out slow like a slow burn and then ramps up quickly. This story is believable and has no real holes in it. It's a story you can relate to in that it seems very plausible and believable. You feel the characters fear and tension with the situation he finds himself in. This is a slow paced thriller that is well filmed and the performances are excellent.
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.
A Single Shot draws influences from No Country for Old Men, A Simple Plan, and Winter's Bone, but is vastly inferior to all three of those films. The cast, which includes Sam Rockwell, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Jeffrey Wright, William H Macy, and Joe Anderson does their best to elevate the material. But alas, the stolen money plot is too predictable to be suspenseful, the character study of John Moon a little too cliche to be sympathetic, and the pacing too slow to be engaging.
The film successfully manages to create a dark, eerie backwoods setting. Almost every shot screams atmosphere. This certainly helps to maintain a consistent mood. Yet where the film focuses on its mood, it loses focus in its narrative. There are several tangents that serve little to no purpose in the plot. 15 minutes could have easily been left in the editing room and the story would have been more effective and tightly composed. If you're a fan of Sam Rockwell or dark psychological thrillers, there might be some redeeming qualities here, but A Single Shot will not linger in your mind once its over.
A Single Shot is very much a drama, with some thrilling elements. I have already mentioned Fargo, but A Simple Plan would be a good comparison as far as the overall mood of the film is concerned (more people should see A Simple Plan by the way). It is very dark, very deliberate in pace, but very well acted and plotted out in a convincing manner. There may not be much room for levity in a film like this, but between the atmosphere and the fine performances from the cast, I am definitely glad I did not miss this film.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
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