singleshotSimply put, A Single Shot is a top notch, gut wrenching, crime-drama.

A Single Shot

Simply put, A Single Shot is a top notch, gut wrenching, crime-drama. This tension fueled thriller will keep your muscles clinched from beginning to end. In the vein of No Country for Old Men, and boasting an ensemble cast that always deliver; A Single Shot is a solid piece of filmmaking based on the novel by Matthew F Jones.

John Moon (Sam Rockwell) has lost everything the last few years. He is a good old country boy trying to hold it all together now that his wife and kid have walked out.  When a tragic hunting accident places him in a cat and mouse game against ruthless criminals; things only get worse and John has to try and protect what he has left. When poverty clouds judgment money seems to be the only way out. You understand how he wants to better his situation and would do anything for his wife and young son.

This film is very reminiscent of No Country for Old men not only in the story line but also the characters and the overall tone. That is not to say that it doesn’t stand on its own in a lot of ways, and fans of Cormac McCarthy will appreciate Jones’ talent for creating memorable people. John Moon makes bad decisions from the very beginning yet you can’t help but pull for him as he tries to set things right. You know he stands little chance against the scum and villainy he is now entangled with.

Rockwell is such an amazing actor. He is one of those guys who never seem to get the credit they deserve. He has an endearing persona that oozes from any character he touches. He makes you feel for Moon and empathize for him. There is a quiet calm in his chaos that we have seen from Sam before. This makes his performances believable and his characters memorable.

Even though this falls squarely on Rockwell’s shoulders the rest of the cast do their part. William H. Macy plays a small town attorney and I have a feeling his character had more involvement in the book. We get little of him here which is a shame. I liked what Macy was doing and would have liked to see more. Jeffrey Wright is almost unrecognizable as a washed up backwoods drunk. His demeanor and slurred speech make you forget his clean, buttoned up roles of the past. The climactic scene with him and Sam is paralyzing and award worthy.

A Single Shot is rated R for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use. Make no mistake that this is certainly an adult drama. This gritty and often brutal film is void of any humor or moments of calm. You constantly feel the tension brewing in each frame. But director David M. Rosenthal uses that element to deliver a moving story that is finely crafted. I give it 3.75 out of 5 acres. Though not original in story, Rockwell gives a stirring, must see performance. I am tempted to read the book just to see what had to be left out.

Matt Mungle

Review copyright 2013 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.