‘A Single Shot’: Hunting drama misses its mark
A movie review of “A Single Shot,” a draggy drama about a hunter (Sam Rockwell) who apparently kills a young woman by accident.
Special to The Seattle Times
‘A Single Shot,’ with Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly. Directed by David M. Rosenthal, from a screenplay by Matthew F. Jones, based on Jones’ novel. 116 minutes. Rated R for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use. Pacific Place.
William H. Macy has only a few scenes in “A Single Shot,” but he’s memorable as a small-town West Virginia lawyer who finds himself nurturing “overlapping interests.” It’s almost the only intriguing, observant line of dialogue in this draggy attempt at redneck film noir. It helps that he puts it over so well. The other actors seem bogged down with grunts and mumbles that lend new meaning to “mumblecore.”
Even the great Jeffrey Wright is guilty of scenery-chewing in an ill-defined role that takes up far too much screen time. As for the star, Sam Rockwell, who’s usually a bright spot in any production, he seems weighed down by a script that’s stubbornly pretentious.
Rockwell does have his moments, usually when he’s emphasizing the heartsick nature of John Moon, a hunter who announces his motivation far too quickly: “I don’t want a divorce — I want my family back.”
Unfortunately, Moon is stuck with a plot that unnecessarily complicates the situation. While he thinks he’s shot a deer, he seems to have killed a young woman who happens to have brought a considerable amount of cash with her. When anonymous phone calls to Moon turn threatening, he reacts predictably.
Far too many scenes are reminiscent of better movies: “Winter’s Bone,” “Fargo,” the closet scene from “Blue Velvet.” The director, David M. Rosenthal, who made “Janie Jones” and the documentary “Dylan’s Run,” this time resists finding a path of his own.
John Hartl: email@example.com