A Single Shot (2013)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

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.

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Movie Info

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
Rating:
R (for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use)
Genre:
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Sam Rockwell
as John Moon
Jason Isaacs
as Waylon
Ted Levine
as Cecil
Amy Sloan
as Carla
Jenica Bergere
as Colette
Christie Burke
as Dead Girl Ingrid
Marcel Maillard
as Toothless Man
Michael Eisner
as Levi Dean
Alex Diakun
as Skinny
Michael Eisner
as Levi Dean
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Critic Reviews for A Single Shot

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (18)

An odd mix of beautifully bleak atmosphere and hammily mannered performances, "A Single Shot" is simultaneously understated and overpowering.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

Both predictable and outlandish.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

"A Single Shot" is a singular pleasure, and worth seeking out.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

None of these characters, no matter how trashed-up for the down-market occasion, are believable.

September 19, 2013
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
Top Critic

The back story disappoints less for its convoluted nature than for its failure to create a convincing set of motivations for its characters.

Full Review… | September 19, 2013
NPR
Top Critic

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.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

While hunting one day, John Moon(Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots a young woman instead of the deer he thought he was aiming at. Amongst her belongings, he finds a very large amount of cash. Some of which he uses to employ Daggard Pitt(William H, Macy), a lawyer, to at least try to put a halt on the divorce proceedings his wife Moira(Kelly Reilly) is attempting to put through, desperately wanting to reunite his family. Considering her poor choice of babysitters, he may have a point. Most people would never think of West Virginia, where this movie could be set, as any place they may want to move to, as most of the characters in "A Single Shot" suffer under the weight of economic hardships and a grey environment, with Moon not being able to hold down a job.(Even Kelly Reilly looks weatherbeaten.) But one thing that thrives there is character turns with quite a few here from a good cast that also includes Jason Isaacs, Jeffrey Wright and Ted Levine.(Levine to his credit is pretty much unintelligible.) What the movie lacks is any kind of perspective on its lead character. It is important to remember that whereas Moon may think he is invariably doing the right thing(except for the part about not dropping the dime anonymously on the woman he shot), the problem is the movie is consistently on his side whereas the truth is always a bit more complicated.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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