Title – A Single Shot (2013)
Director – David M. Rosenthal (Janie Jones)
Cast – Sam Rockwell, Kelly Reilly, Jason Issacs, Joe Anderson, Jeffrey Wright, William H. Macey
Plot – Hunter/Farmer John Moon (Rockwell) is having a tough time dealing with the possible divorce to his wife Jess (Reilly) and holding down work. When a hunting accident sees him shoot and kill a beautiful woman, his life ends up becoming an increasingly dangerous game thanks to some stolen money and the appearance of criminal figure Waylon (Issacs).
“I don’t wanna a divorce. I just want my family back”
Review by Eddie on 4/02/2015
A Single Shot is an extremely frustrating movie experience for the viewer, for on one hand we have a film centred around the always good Sam Rockwell in a lead role that once more showcases his immense screen presence that was most memorably evident in his lead turn in Moon, but on the other hand the story playing out around Rockwell’s unfortunate hunter John Moon never once rings realistically true and the films suffers badly from it.
A film not concerned with leading in exposition, from the first 5 minutes through to the disheartening and face palm inducing finale, A Single Shot struggles to portray a believable story around much more believable characters. It’s an obvious issue when a films central plot device fails to resonate and here with A Single Shot the very act of John accidently shooting a lone women out in the woods while hunting deer (with a shotgun?) feels implausible and sets up a string of future events that seem frequently underdeveloped, overcooked and downright improbable. Its clear director Rosenthal was going for the morality like tale of what if this happened to you? But there needed to be more grounding around a story that seems to have its end game well in sight but is in no hurry to get there, much to the detriment of a tale in which the lead actor deserved more from.
Without doubt the reason to see A Single Shot is Sam Rockwell. Bearded, vulnerable and completely believable, Rockwell’s John Moon is another fine creation by an actor who when given the chance to lead, frequently excels. While all things that happen around John don’t fully convince there is little doubt that Rockwell’s performance is a fully formed and stand out piece of acting. While Rockwell again stands out in an ensemble he is a part of, it’s safe to say others don’t come to the party. Kelly Reilly, Jeffrey Wright (in what is a turn you may need subtitles for) and Jason Isaacs, all fail to fully convince in their respective roles and clearly struggle within a half boiled story that is complemented by an extremely intrusive musical score and some seriously miss-timed pacing.
At times A Single Shot looks to be showing us just what could’ve been, whether it’s once more Rockwell’s standout acting chops, some neatly written dialogue or a bleak but beautifully filmed look at life in the wilderness covered mountains, there are moments of real quality here that are sadly shunned aside due to a sometimes infuriatingly staged story and some questionable supporting turns. A missed shot indeed.
2 shooting fingers out of 5