Cinematic Releases: A Single Shot

Sam Rockwell stars in a quaint small town thriller that's similar in tone to a Coen Brothers film while furthering his growth as one of today's most diverse actors. Rockwell is always the highlight of every film he's in. In A Single Shot he breaks away from this year's comedic routine of The Way Way Back with a dynamic performance more in the realm of his earlier dramatic works. A Single Shot is not an exciting film and it will be a tough watch for some, but Rockwell alone makes this a must see movie. 

In tone and delivery, A Single Shot can be compared to some of the Coen works, but definitely lacks the sense of unique character that define films like Fargo or No Country For Old Men. At the heart, this is a "man in the wrong place at the wrong time" movie and it follows that pattern throughout. A Single Shot is not a heartwarming feature and it's not going to make you sleep better tonight. It's a down on your luck type of movie and it hits you over the head over and over again with the reminder that the lead character, John Moon, is not a smart man, he doesn't make wise choices, and his luck will only continue to get worse. 

At times, A Single Shot seems devoid of intent on the part of some of the supporting characters/villains and they're often times hard to understand. This causes some minor confusion on the part of the viewer. At one point, Jeffrey Wright delivers a monologue that is definitely pertinent to the story but his voice is so drowned in southern drawl that its hard to make head or tails of what he's saying. I fully understand dedication to character but they went over board making him sound like a drunken southerner with a moonshine soaked liver. 

A Single Shot is a slow moving feature that definitely captures the rural south in a new light. It shows the dark side of the spectrum: the motel living crack smoking alcoholic scum, the ram shackle mobile home dwellers, and the middle of nowhere storage container campers. Again, it's not a pretty film but one that's decisive in it's portrayal of dreary rural life and the people that inhabit the lifestyle.

Based on Sam Rockwell alone, I'd definitely suggest a watch. Just be ready to take a shower afterward because you're going to feel gross. 

- Review by Chris George