User Reviews (54)

Add a Review

  • 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.
  • This is an exquisitely dark, rural, all-American series noir. Plot line and moral being: a good man goes bad, because that's the way things can be, the way things are. Nature -- human or otherwise, isn't kind. Mistakes happen. And you often pay for them in the wilderness of this world we live in alone and altogether. Chance has its way of crushing you, burying you alive. Watch out. Plus, aside from a potent story line, the acting is downright first rate. Not a single one of the actors are off key. I don't know who did the casting for "A Single Shot", but they deserve an award for it. Also exquisite in this film is the ending -- one of the most original examples of "open ended" I've ever seen in a film. You've got to be in a dark, worried mood to like this film; its darkness is relentless. "A Single Shot" is not for everyone; in no way is it "G" or "GP". But for thoughtful adults it is very well worth the watching.
  • This is a serious movie for serious viewers. Sam Rockwell gives a convincing performance as John Moon, a West Virginia cracker who stumbles into bad luck from the opening seen. All of the characters bring to life what it's probably like to live in a rural, poor area in flyover country. The accents of the characters are often thick, which can make it difficult to understand some of the dialog, but the plot nonetheless comes through clearly. Rockwell's character progresses from being a dumb cracker to someone you care about, as the tension builds towards a final resolution of his accidental and potentially deadly predicament. The acting and direction are first rate. The cinematography fits the story; the musical score does likewise. The story is dark, in a Jack London sort of way. You won't be inspired, but you might be brought closer in touch with the human condition.
  • Awonderlich20 August 2013
    I had never heard of this movie, but I found it on On Demand for purchase before the actual release date. I wasn't expecting much as I had never heard of it - but this movie was so good - it was almost hard to watch. I found myself getting up and having to walk out of the room because at times it was almost too painful (in a good way). Every actor was amazing from the accents, to demeanor, and wardrobe. I felt like the movie was actually happening before my eyes.

    Sam Rockwell has always been a great actor - but in this movie - I kept forgetting it was even him. This was a great role for him and I hope to see more of him in future movies.

    I recommend this dark, creepy and suspenseful movie. Be prepared to squirm!
  • Went into this movie expecting some sort of cat and mouse game or a "Vacancy" like thriller about persons being taken down one after another, but as pleasantly surprised to find its neither, Instead its feels like an backwoods thriller evoking a particular emotional or aesthetic quality through a combination of acting, visuals and realism shots . It feels as if one is there to experience the story as it happened to u personally of someone who had committed a crime covered it up and the mental trauma of going through blackmail only to realise that those around u cant be trusted. i would have to agree for most part i was engrossed guessing about whats happening on screen for most of the time. Of course there is ample drama revolving around relationships and characters caught up in their own world. pretty much half the show revolves around this and the main central character keeping his cool around a sticky situation he is caught up in

    An atmospheric thriller that grips you in parts from the opening scene together with the bleak finale

    The result will please some, others not, keeping their reservations about the movie . Tells a strange story of mystery and horror, which plays-mostly-in the majestic surroundings of a rural countryside during a dark winter or near spring season . Most of the film has dark or muted color tones of the backwoods and rural landscape

    With some good visuals aesthetics and successful direction of actors, the movie creates from a tense opening of a woman being killed and into thriller that evolves into a mostly psychological movie. A movie mystery where the silences, inactivity of most part of the show and the images reflect the intuitions, intentions and sensations of persons through scenes depicting from a troubled guilty character huddled in the corner of the house's lone bathroom , the sole light of a single lamp or inviting illumination from the winter sun through the tree tops tells a story to the viewer

    The film also seems to accurately depict what happens in mostly backwoods or rural countryside town where a few shady characters co exist with normal everyday people. Most of the movie revolves around this premise and examining the morality of both sets of characters

    The show starts off a bleak and sorrowful scene t though halfway it seems to lose track to a family drama and a witch hunt only to regain back at the final minutes

    Overall worth a watch, one of the movies u would like to see on a week off day or vacation.
  • John Moon (Sam Rockwell) is a poacher living in poverty ridden backwoods. His father lost their family farm to the bank. His wife (Kelly Reilly) left him taking their child with her. He is struggling to accept this. One day on a hunt, he runs across a dead girl, an overturned truck, and a box full of money. He takes the money, and abandons the body. Somebody comes looking for the money and knows John took it. It becomes psychological combat as the mysterious person try to force John to divulge where the money is.

    The gritty grim of overwhelming poverty is well done. Everybody looks like they just did meth. However there are too many scenes of nothing happening as John Moon walks around hunting. It adds nothing that isn't already there. They are better off trimming those scenes to lessen the 2 hours running time and pick up the pace.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Consequences. This movie is truly the results of, or the consequences of not being ready when the fan get's the crap scared out of it. One shot is the one to many, and one is the only one he would ever need again. Such a deep thinking quiet, but smart movie. Sam Rockwell, is no monkey in this movie. This is a man who like most of us have let too much go because he let the depression in, and then when it's all just a bit too late, he suddenly finds he needs people, but at the same time finds that he has no idea who he can trust. This poor guy just needed one break. I really felt for him, and Enjoyed the movie mostly because this is Rockwell's best performance since Moon. I recommend this one to the outdoorsy types first, but then anyone who likes to watch a rabbit fall down a hole, and never really think before each next step, then you will love this. Violent, and Sexually scary for some. This is a really good pick for an early evening with only 1:45 ish running time it'll just fit.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this in the middle of covering the Tribeca FIlm Festival and a crushing slate of 75 films. My reaction to the film was to like it but not love it. However when I had a chance to sit down and see it on VOD I found that many of my earlier reservations fell away.

    The plot of the film has a down on his luck guy living off in the woods by himself. One of the things he does is to poach the local wild stock. When he accidentally shoots a young woman his efforts to hide what happened brings him violently into contact with some very bad people.

    A modern noir film the film works largely thanks to the performance of Rocwell who manages to make you feel sympathy for his character even though he's done some bone head stuff. It also doesn't hurt to have the supporting cast he does backing him up.

    WHile not a perfect film it is much better than it's reputation or it's IMDb number suggests it is.
  • themissingpatient9 September 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    John Moon, played by Sam Rockwell, accidentally shoots and kills a beautiful young girl while hunting for deer. In a state of shock, John drags the body down to an old abandoned gravel pit where he finds the girl has been living like a runaway. Inside her makeshift shelter, he goes through her belongings and finds a large sum of money. He hides the body, takes the money and leaves. It doesn't take long before it is made clear that the hunter is being hunted as somebody wants their money back.

    Though the story sounds unoriginal, like something the Coen Brother's already perfected with No Country For Old Men, A Single Shot takes a different approach. This is a psychological thriller through John's eyes. His guilt plays a factor and instead of running off with the money, John sticks around his small rural town and begins to investigate. The screenplay is adapted by the writer of the novel, Matthew F. Jones, and for an unoriginal premise, the story takes it's own unique path.

    David M. Rosenthal is very hit and miss in his direction. While the exterior scenes are both beautiful and haunting, the interior scenes are irritatingly tight, causing an unnecessary claustrophobic effect. While it could be said the interior scenes are shot in a way to add to the chaos surrounding the protagonist, they really just come off cheap and vague. We're missing a need for details of these interior locations. It's not a matter of the low-budget, it is just that the scenes are terribly framed.

    The only other aspect of the film that will turn people away are the heavy accents. This isn't a flaw but it will annoy the average viewer because it is almost impossible to understand some of the dialogue in certain scenes. Turning up the volume doesn't help either, these scenes may need to be subtitled. It leaves a curious question: Were the actors directed to deliver their dialogue in a way so the average audience member wouldn't be able to understand what they are saying or were the actors having fun going to the extreme with their backwoods redneck characters?

    Though aspects of the direction come off as amateurish, A Single Shot delivers a tense story and a perfect cathartic ending.
  • Although A Single Shot has a familiar moody premise, its mature execution makes it worth watching. Matthew F. Jones adapted the screenplay from his own novel and it does quite show that there's something novelistic about its structure. Our protagonist spends most of his time weaving between encounters with characters he knows well about business we see the half of. Jones has himself a rich world and we're only seeing a peek at it. It does mean that he gets wrapped up in a little too much and it feels like the first two thirds of the film feel slow and unfocused. But it's all worth it for the third act. Now, that part is new to me. Absolutely nail- biting climax, heart-breaking buildup and a great ambiguous ending. Shame they saved all the punches for the that last half an hour rather than the first ninety. Unfortunately, as characters mumble and grumble so much, I could only catch about a quarter of what people were saying until I needed subtitles and that severely affected my emotional investment and my knowledge of what was going on. I could figure out the broad strokes though. The performances all round were good, Jeffrey Wright is a tragic standout. Sam Rockwell dissolves into his role which is a good thing and a bad thing since I love it when he turns his charm on. Good solid thriller.

  • Many reviewers are complaining about this movie being "slow" because of the plot. What makes this movie slow is the pacing and uneven structure. The plot itself fine and actually pretty interesting - a hunter accidentally kills someone in the woods and decides not to tell anyone about it. He finds a stash of money with the body and uses it to better his Son. That's a good story. Unfortunately, it's the poor direction, editing and writing of this movie that really destroy what is a pretty good premise.

    Honestly (the more I think about it), with the exception of an interesting story (at least at the beginning) and a great performance by Rockwell, this film is a complete mess. There are numerous scenes that don't fit or just don't make sense. Though Rockwell is fantastic, many of his character's actions are completely idiotic. I blame a poor script filled with convenient characters that serve as nothing more than stereotypical plot devises. Neo-noir films can break rules and be implausible, but that's because they usually have a pacing that builds to a great climax, making you forgot about all the plot holes and illogical characters.

    Rockwell's character is the only person in the movie with any depth. Which is a testament to Rockwell, because the writer does not do anything to help us relate to this guy. I guess, to a degree, that might be the point - this unlucky chap could be any of us. But at a certain point I wanted more focus on the psychological weight of his murder, a Tell Tale Heart kind of thing, and less No Country For Old Men 2.

    I didn't hate this movie. It does create a nice atmosphere, but there's too much wrong with it to really enjoy it for more than 10 minutes at a time at any point. Thank goodness for Rockwell, or it would have been completely unwatchable.

    Check out Cold In July or Blue Ruin - those films show you how to do neo-noir thrillers right.
  • A superb film upon which our grasp of perception and reality has been exquisitely en-captured in a heart wrenchingly yet sober filled drama.

    We are involved from the very start in the life of a blue collar worker who has a dark, yet ambiguous human option. The darker of this option he takes unfortunately. The final part of the film has some memento style cleaning of his history (without the time travel) whilst progressing successfully a personal and thrilling characterisation of our lead character.

    I found this film a tribute and somewhat "ordinary" Sam Rockwell film. "Ordinary" in this review is built upon other films he has acted in and which can be construed as "OUTSTANDING". Great film, watch it.
  • kosmasp3 August 2013
    Which is actually more than enough in this case. I did not read the source material to this, but I did have the pleasure of watching this at the Berlin Internationl Festival. Sam Rockwell himself would have attended, but due to the storm having a party in America, he couldn't make the flight. While that bad, because it'd been awesome to see him up and close, it was also a relief, because he's just larger than life (one of the greatest actors of his generation is more than an apt description of him).

    He does prove it in this movie too, which is much darker than I had expected. But he has a lot of help coming from the rest of the cast (great people involved here) and the script of course. As mentioned, I couldn't tell you the differences between the movie and the book. But the director did a great job here and I can only recommend this (not only because of the powerhouse performance by Sam)
  • At first glance it is easy to think A Single Shot is a pretty enough, moody enough, well acted retread of themes and styles from Shallow Grave, A Simple Plan, No Country For Old Men or Winter's Bone and you'd be forgiven for thinking that because there is some element of truth in it. When it comes to plot and stylistic originality you won't find it here. What you will find is an engaging and expertly, if sometimes a little too authentically, played character study disguised as a generic, backwoods, crime thriller. So, my first piece of advice to you is to throw out the plot. Don't engage, as you normally would, through what the characters are doing but more with who the characters are.

    The story, such as it is, focuses around Sam Rockwell's character, John Moon. Estranged from his wife Moira, played by Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes), he lives near to some conservation land, where he routinely goes hunting, despite being caught and charged for doing so on numerous occasions. He's a simple, proud man of few words just trying to put his life back together. While out hunting on this land one morning, trying to catch a deer, he accidentally shoots a woman who, he later finds out, is carrying a ton of cash with her. Despite being definitely distraught at his accidental actions, he knows that to report them would mean jail time. Instead he hides the body, takes the money and is determined to get his life, meaning his wife and child, back. However, the money, of course, is linked to a web of unsavoury characters who, one by one, try and get their hands on it. Tobacco is chewed, lines are mumbled in thick, heavy accented drawls and bodies pile up. Will John Moon come out on top or is his demise inevitable?

    The press release describes the film as a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse and if that was the honest intention of the film then, I am sorry to say, it fails. It's too slow moving, too drenched in melancholy strings and blue, grey, damp photography. The characters aren't menacing or threatening enough and, more often than not, the tension is lost as you are straining to understand what the hell is going on as some terrific actors grumble, twitch and spit through thick beards and thicker accents. I like to believe, though, that the film is more than that. More than a generic cat and mouse thriller about a bag of money and some grubby but pleasingly quirky hillbillies. It might just be his acting and his endless watchability, but I think the film is most successful as an in-depth and tragic character study of Sam Rockwell's John Moon. Studying and delving in to, as it does, ideas of lost opportunity, loss of love, pride coming before a fall, having the strength to survive, betrayal, fear, not being able to see the wood for the trees (which is indicated in several nice visual clues) and making your bed and damn well having to lie in it. On this level the film succeeds handsomely and Rockwell, also serving as producer on the film, gives a, at first, gruff and almost monosyllabic and unsympathetic performance that grows, over the running time, into a tragic, sometimes heart wrenchingly unlucky and down trodden character that you root for to, some how, find a way out of his predicament, even though your brain can't find one and you probably know that an easy resolution will not be forthcoming. He has surrounded himself well with the cream of character actors, the sort of 2nd tier players who are a sheer delight to just recline and watch act.

    William H Macy, sporting an outrageously bad toupee, a suspect moustache, a sports jacket worthy of a scuzzy car salesman from the 50s and affecting a handicap in the form of a damaged arm and limp, gives a performance that dances neatly along the line of parody and awards worthy that he, and his peers, have so perfected in their work with the Coens. He is weasley, sinister, pathetic, dangerous, unnerving and humorous all rolled into one and the film could've used a lot more of him.

    The film also features great but, sadly, tiny performances from Ted Levine, Jason Isaacs and Melissa Leo who, I doubt, get much more screen time, combined, than you'd be easily able to count on two hands. The only other stand out actor worth a mention being, the always worth the price of admission, Jeffrey Wright. His performance, as a wild, reckless, drunkard friend of John Moon is fantastic and combines almost every tick, twitch and technique an actor can deploy to best portray an alcoholic red neck. The only downside to this is, as the film enters its third act, Wright shows up to deliver some important plot information but it gets buried under piles of grime, dribble, tobacco, alcoholic slurring, an indecipherable accent and a crap flecked thicket of facial hair. As superb and as delightful as the mud smeared technique is, it's this scene that almost derails the film, that is if you are still trying to figure out what is going on but, I've already told you, the plot is not important.

    Much like the plot, though, the downfall in the direction is that the film feels all too familiar. From the colour palette to the score (which features the, too often used, discordant pizzicato strings) nothing here feels different from something you've seen a hundred times before and while the techniques on display are exemplary, the lack of anything new can make parts of the, already slow, film drag.

    That being said it does feel authentic and atmospheric. The set dressing, the costumes, the location and the lighting also do their part to help you feel the cold, the damp, the dirt and the drink.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    No point to this being made. Sam Rockwell and William H Macy are great actors, but this film isn't great. I watched it all, yes, every boring minute of it. The plot is non existent, as is the fine script, and dialogue. Also, the editing is just atrocitious, the score annoying, and the cinematography weird. John, (Rockwell) is an ex con who lives in a trailer, alone. His wife and child have left him, due to his inability to find work. He survives doing odd jobs, and deer hunting, (With a 12 bore shotgun!). Out hunting one day, he shoots a woman who was 'Somehow' hiding in a bush, and in the middle of nowhere! So, instead of calling the cops, or at least getting help, he rummages through her belongings and then puts her over his shoulder and dumps her body in the trailer where she'd been hiding! How he knew where she was staying, that's a mystery. In the said trailer he finds a box of money, and he decides to keep it. What happens next is just stupid! It turns out that the money belongs to very dangerous people, Never! They want the money back, Never! But instead of knocking on his door and saying, "Can we have our money back, or we'll kill you", no they shoot his dog, and dump the girls dead body in his trailer, with a note saying "John murdered me". The pointlessness just goes on and on. The music in this film is so annoying too. It's just an endless screech, and a violin being scratched backwards with a coin. It all is just too unbelievable to warrant more than 2 stars. Give it a miss 2/10
  • Couldn't understand a thing they were saying. For such good actors the southern accents and chewing tobacco didn't help to make any talking clear. Not worth watching. I am sorry I did.
  • timlin-427 August 2013
    While the setting and action in this movie are seemingly brutally naturalistic, the execution is confusing and unsubstantial. The story ends up being too mundane and dull to have some symbolic meaning, yet too figurative and inexplicable to be interestingly realistic. Visually the movie is dark, though it take place outdoors much of the time, and seems filled with meaningless shots. The dialogue is hard to understand, though the characters are too unperceptive to say anything worth listening to anyway. The protagonist is constantly falling asleep, dreaming, and being startled awake. He seems to exist in a state of stupor, his actions exhibiting no intelligence. He stumbles through the events of the movie without learning anything or changing at all, though I suppose there is supposed to be some thread of redemption. I guess this movie could be a representation of real life, dumb and pointless, but that's not much of a story.
  • One of the year's strangest-almost disappointing films, "A Single Shot" is only respectable because Sam Rockwell is doing a very nice work following an average script that on better hands would result in a gripping project. It's not much of a script problem but a matter of choices made that turned this film into something almost unbearable and unintelligible. The premise is good enough to make you interested but there's mistakes on the way, whether poor editorial choices, terrible sound and a messy, uninvolved and unexplainable situations.

    Sam plays a lonely man who believes has an answer to all of his marital problems after finding a great amount of money in the woods where he was hunting. But there's a dead girl's body involved, people who want to find her and the money and as usual it's the dangerous kind of people. Now this hunted hunter will have to find ways of solving the upcoming obstacles on his way before it gets too late.

    "A Single Shot" is the kind of movie that depends on who's behind the material and how it's going to developed. It could be everything but ordinary - which sadly is. It has a sort of Coen brothers kind of setting and if created or made by them it would an instant classic, clever and powerfully well-acted. But here while trying to be artistic constructing a character development (limited to the main character of course), the screenplay and the director forced a slow pace (at first very good but then it got annoying), kept confusing and sounded awfully. The last one though. If only we could hear the actors speaking, or at least understand what they're saying. Rockwell's best friend, played by Jeffrey Wright, is an important piece of the story but he's constantly drunk, forcing an already hard dialect and that's it. What's he saying with all those mumbled words? Not to mention that some connections are strangely made and all of sudden Sam receives threats after threats (that's when the movie takes of for good) by the psychotic character played by Jason Isaacs.

    It's worth seeing though. It keeps your interest (but not fully), the director knows how to create a great sense of menace and fear, and it's easy to relate with the leading man and his problems that only get bigger and bigger, just wanting to make things simple. Rockwell is a knockout here, in the great things and in the small ones too. Pay attention to his character composition, how he communicates plenty with saying much and at each scene is injured in some way. It's nuanced performance just as much as of William H. Macy as the crippled lawyer (too bad he's in it for brief scenes) and the frightening Joe Anderson (the first confrontation between him and Sam is very good). Everyone else in here doesn't convince all that much.

    Not easy enough to be considered an entertainment, nor patient and important to be art. Minor but good. 6/10
  • Every scene was in the dark. Man, these people live in the dark. Sounded like it maybe was a good movie, but I'll never know as I couldn't see a bloody thing. If you've got a state of the art super home cinema set up, you'll probably enjoy it. Us lesser mortals will struggle.
  • Grim and Gloomy, this Neo-Noir is a Cold Thriller that is Atmospheric and Character Driven. There are some Scary People and some Scary Moments in this Tale of Small Town, Backwoods Glum.

    The Tone is a Titillating Grab the Money and Cover Up the Crime Film that Feels Alienated and Familiar, Interesting and Foreboding. Sam Rockwell Leads a Cast of Familiar Faces that are Buried in Deep Alcoholic Mumbles Punctuated with Low IQ's and High Energy.

    It Twists and Turns in the way it is On Again Off Again as the Protagonist is Pulled Here and There by His Own Missteps and the Forces of Evil. It is an Intriguing Film, mostly, Hampered Somewhat by some Sloppy Plot Executions in the Middle.

    There are some Ambiguous Motivations and Dialog along the way, but the Beginning and the Ending are Enough to make this a Fine, Modern, Desperate Exercise in Temptation, Fate, and a Revelation that Yes, it is a Scary World out there and can be all the more Terrifying if You take the Wrong Turn on that Rural Road.
  • "I'm gonna find you." John Moon (Rockwell) is trying everything he can to reconnect with his wife and child. Spending his time between living in his cabin and trying to fit in in town. When he finds a young woman in the woods his life takes a dangerous turn and now he must not only fight to get back with the woman he loves but also for his life. I watched this movie for really only one reason, Sam Rockwell. After watching it I have to say there is really only one reason to watch this, Sam Rockwell. To me he is one of the most underrated actors alive (Paul Giamatti & Giovanni Ribisi would also be on list) and he again shows why in this movie. If anyone but him was the lead in this it would be unwatchable. The movie itself is so slow moving that I found it hard to stay interested in but he brought a depth to the character that really helped and made you want to see him succeed in everything he was doing. Other then that though this is just really to slow moving to recommend. Overall, a movie to watch to see the brilliance of Sam Rockwell. I give it a C+.
  • David M. Rosenthal's A Single Shot joins the ranks of some superior 2013 thrillers, the uniting factor being their complete grasp of a sense of place and time and their ability to unconditionally exploit their setting for the benefit of the story and characters. Mud, The Frozen Ground, Scenic Route and now this poetic backwoods chiller all place a compelling central character in a potentially life threatening ordeal and surrounds them with superior supporting players and executes their motives and actions with fluidity and respect. This year has so far seen a resurgence in this type of yarn – a stripped down, character based story that extracts its involving tenseness through simple actions, not bombast and explosions.

    For A Single Shot, Matthew F. Jones adapts his own novel which can often be the kiss of death for any film in such a situation and though I have not personally read his book, it's clear he's handled his material with grace and dignity. The dialogue is natural and not overstuffed and most importantly doesn't play out like a work of literary fiction but a thoroughly cinematic effort.

    Also an interesting choice is when some of these characters deliver their lines; the employ of a deep southern drawl (often accompanied by drunken slurring) can render certain words incomprehensible. While this certainly adds a layer of realism to the proceedings it does take the risk of making the effort as whole indecipherable and confusing. How A Single Shot avoids this pitfall is with its grasp on these scenes and the sequences that precede and follow them. We are at least somewhat aware of their motivations and how they fit into place so the fact we miss a word here and their holds little bearing on the greater arcs at play.

    Of these threads, at the center is always Sam Rockwell's John Moon, a poacher living off the land while trying desperately to get enough of his life together to reconcile with his estranged wife and their young son. It's on a typical hunt on an equally typical day that his fortunes both plummet and inflate with, yes, a single shot. Set in motion is a series of poor choices and collisions with dangerous, scheming men who have no love lost for whoever is responsible for their reversal of fortunes.

    Lost in a hillbilly beard, mangy hair and backwater drawl Rockwell delivers what is absolutely one of his best performances and considering his already auspicious resume, it isn't a claim I lay lightly. This is a living, breathing individual, not an A-lister traipsing around in facial hair and one whose choices or lack thereof have dire consequences. This is an inherently flawed and broken man, but one we want to see rise above the hell he has created for himself.

    The remainder of the thesps who round out the cast also never miss a beat and all serve to elevate Rockwell who in turn bolsters them. On the side of the wicked we get two outstanding turns by the mostly overlooked Jason Isaacs and up and comer Joe Anderson. They play two former cell mates who are out to find the man responsible for the theft of their drug money and whether alone or together they emanate an innate aura of malice.

    Anderson (who some may have seen on the unfortunately short lived found footage television series The River) shares and early scene with Rockwell after he makes an ill advised venture to his ex's home only to find him making friendly with the babysitter. The tense scenes that follow don't have anything surface level that would indicate bad things to come, but the subversive interplay between them is worth the price of admission alone.

    Jason Isaacs on the other hand has been delivering deliciously evil villains over the course of his career, the most exposed of which would certainly be his perfectly realized interpretation of slimy Harry Potter antagonist Luscious Malfoy. Though often cast in roles such as that, here he crafts a different vein of monster, lost in a mane of hair and a weathered face. He isn't on screen for long as it turns out but he makes us remember ever scene and his service to the absolutely gripping climax is as invaluable as they come. The final sequences' stakes, the pacing and the performances culminate into some of the most white knuckle filmmaking of the year.

    Inhabiting the grey area in terms of scrupulous morals (in addition to John Moon of course) is Jeffrey Wright as a perpetually drunk old friend of Moon's, William H. Macy as a "simple small town lawyer." Then we are treated to great female leads in the form of Kelly Reilly (who is proving to be a name to watch after the fantastic turn in last year's Flight) and Ophelia Lovibond as the daughter of a family friend. I found Wright in particular to be dynamite, certainly adhering to the aforementioned slurring hillbilly style of line delivery. His fate may be a tad predictable and overblown but everything preceding it reminds us why he still has a career.

    If A Single Shot stumbles anywhere it would be in its final scenes which are so on the nose it could be considered out of focus. There is nothing subtle about its imagery and metaphors but with such immensely strong work from everyone in front of and behind the camera, it's easy to forgive, though tough to overlook entirely. Embraced by the bleak mountain terrain, perforated my instances of brutal violence and anchored unequivocally by Rockwell, A Single Shot is well worth a look if for nothing than the fact it serves its story and characters with a rare level of reverence and takes them on a journey that is equal parts satisfying and devastating.
  • rrcharpe19 January 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    Although I have found Sam Rockwell to be an above average actor in various movies, I was disappointed at several things in this movie. First of all showing a man hunting a deer with a shotgun is unrealistic if you have ever done any hunting. Secondly, shooting at a sound in the bushes without visualizing your prey animal is life threatening to other humans and therefore it created an antipathy in me that I found difficult to overcome when the inevitable occurs, setting up the basis for the rest of the film. Additionally, I agree with several of the other persons who have written reviews in that I am sickened by most movies that leave the ending "up to the viewer" rather than having the screen writer and directer actually take the time to produce a coherent end to the movie. Although Hollywood has embraced this idiotic trend of just basically ending a movie by fading to black without any rational explanation of what happens to the people or person in the movie you have spent your time watching, I personally think it is a cowardly and irrational cop out to end movies (like the stupid "No Country for Old Men") movie that ended in the same stupid way. Maybe I'm old fashioned Hollywood, but please make movies that have some semblance of a beginning, a middle and an end, you know like the movies made from the great novels of Dickens, Verne, Tolstoy, H.G. Wells, etc. Anyone can make a movie with no ending. It actually takes time and effort to have a significant ending. I'm a novelist myself. StocktonRob
  • nomorefox14 September 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    I just paid $10 to watch this movie on "On Demand". Cast was great. Acting was great. Story line was just OK most of the way through. I expected a lot more. However, I am so sick of these indie movies that build up the story, then leave it up to viewer to decide how it ends. It doesn't always have to be a "Choose your own adventure" book. So many new films have been trying to same equation. VERY few succeed. This film tries, but failed. If I have to tell them how this particular movie ends, then they need to pay me. An ambiguous ending that fades to black, then credits, negates all of the good qualities that preceded it if it didn't have a powerful enough story to back it up. Any writer/director that doesn't have the balls to present how they think it should end with this kind of story is just afraid and unimaginative. That is what I walked away from this movie with. If I see credits scrolling and yell "No! F#@$* YOU", then it was a waste of my time and money.

    Sam Rockwell did a great job. William H. Macy? Bit part, and a bit lame. Sadly it's a tank because of the director's/producers' inability to provide that satisfaction we all look for in an ending. Don't get me wrong; There have been several great "thinkers", where the movie ends without explanation, and you have that huge "wow", or "ok, that was cool" moment later. This was definitely not one of those. It makes me think that the writers realized that the story/ending was weak, and the only way to get any buzz was to make a non-ending.

    This is such a sad new trend in indie movies that makes me almost as sick as seeing guys in skinny jeans (dear God, please tell guys they look like idiots in skinny jeans!!!). Since when is the inability to write an ending "edgy" or "intriguing"? The Independent movie train has gone off the rails.

    This movie certainly had those unpredictable qualities I look for in a movie billed as a drama/thriller. Unfortunately all of those moments were quickly abandoned and dismissed as not part of the story line as it went along.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If you've seen the movie then you should already know the jest of my complains about the film, I'm not gonna explain the "whole" plot I'm just gonna do a quick spoiler summary to makes this quick and easy.

    TB/DW (Too boring / didn't watch)

    *Man fires "several" shots with some kind of pump action shotgun while hunting*

    (wait.. multiple shots I thought this film only contained one?)

    *kills woman near a sewage like lake having a picnic for no apparent reason*

    *finds bob the builders tool box full of doe*

    *steals it*

    *some drama to keep you waiting till the plot actually moves*

    *Man's dog gets brutally shot* (the sole reason this movie is R rated)

    *Man realizes somebody knows* (other than the fact that he gets a call "I know what you did last summer")

    *1 hour of Magnum P.I work and drama*

    *plot twists that you pretty much saw coming*

    *Climax starts kicking into gear*

    At this point I actually didn't mind the movie, It was intriguing and I actually didn't check how much time was left; not once, my hunger for entertainment was slowly being filled in a single movie until the last 25 Min's which is what everyone has waited for, for the past hour and a half.

    *Man shoots impossible shot...*

    (Yes, I know its Hollywood blah blah blah)

    oh yeah did I mention he put the woman's body in his freezer.. *cough* Bernie *cough*

    *cops are coming lets finally decide to bury the body....*

    *digs a hole big enough for two*

    *gets stuck in hole and dies*

    *no.. I think I forgot something.. its on the tip of my fingers


    *oh yeah his finger got cut off which he lost enough blood to soak a piece of cloth which in turned made him too tired to climb out of a hole.

    and that was the movie Single finger.

    I honestly felt like the movie itself gave me the bird and said thanks for watching now %^&* off..

    and I was OK with it, the ending obviously has a deeper meaning which all of the other reviewers will explain and the acting was good. I couldn't complain about the actors themselves since I was so focused on the plot which is what every movies sole purpose is.

    A clear example would be Jeffrey Wrights character 'simon' which I couldn't understand unless god gave his own ears to me. hell I don't think Jeffrey knew what the hell he was saying but that's not the point the point is, his character was acted out accurately which was a pathetic drunk.

    I'm sure who ever read the book had a more meaningful understanding of the ending but how the movie portrays it at the end doesn't cut it

    5 stars because I liked an hour and a half of it.
An error has occured. Please try again.