SHOTGUN STORIES: DVD
In the cotton fields and back roads of Arkansas, a family feud erupts on the death of the patriarch. Son (Michael Shannon), Kid (Barlow Jacobs) and Boy (Douglas Ligon) Hayes' father was a selfish drunk who abandoned them as children only to find religion, set up home across town with a new wife and sire four more sons - this time with proper names. When Boy Hayes spits on the old man's casket at his funeral, the jealousies and hatreds between the two sets of half brothers are violently aroused.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If it weren't for the title ... it's setting up the wrong expectations of a movie that defies its own genre as it unravels a feud between half brothers that threatens to kill them all - and go on for ever. The credentials of many festival screenings might suggest to alert viewers that this isn't a shoot 'em up between two hill billy clans.
The slow simmer that Nichols wants to give us is well executed; thanks to a great cast, we tag along, even when the action falters and put us in doubt as to the nature of the movie. And just when you think the tightly wound spring of the story is going to uncoil with some meaning, the film flops into a predictable mode of 'unlikely hero'.
But the fascinating thing about the film is its setting in Middle America (Arkansas, anyway), where these characters grow like weeds. The gun culture that rules and the absence of any other means of communication, the hatreds, the sheer absence of anything like a positive life force hangs over the events and characters in a depressing cloud. All because of a drunken old fart of a father and husband. And then you realise, that's the point of the story.
But it's a little light and the ending a little too pat and empty to be really 'something'.
Published December 11, 2008
Email this article
SHOTGUN STORIES: DVD (M)
CAST: Michael Shannon,Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs, Natalie Canerday Glenda Pannell, Lynnsee Provence
PRODUCER: Jeff Nichols,David Gordon Green, Lisa Muskat,
DIRECTOR: Jeff Nichols
SCRIPT: Jeff Nichols
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Adam Stone
EDITOR: Steven Gonzales
MUSIC: Lucero, Pyramid
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: December 3, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.