There is much to "Shotgun Stories" that elevates it above the fray of Green derivatives and unflattering categorizations, bolstered by a roster of naturalistic, fully assimilated performances, led by "Bug"'s now ubiquitous Michael Shannon.
Writer/director Jeff Nichols is one to watch. He has fashioned a simple but powerful cautionary tale, equal parts Southern Gothic and Greek tragedy, and has given a familiar kind of material a fresh spin.
The end reveals just how poetic, shifting and dazzling Nichols' touch was all along. That's because Shotgun Stories manages to pull away from a hair-trigger resolution with the same inherent right-ness that loaded the story with such tragic force.
It's clearly a labor of love and no doubt true to some regional ways and attitudes. But jeez, it's self-parodic, and all the more so for taking place in some uncharted corner of Dixie where nobody has the slightest sense of humor.