Film Review: Sam Rockwell Carries Harrowing ‘A Single Shot’

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CHICAGO – Sam Rockwell does no wrong. He takes parts in movies major (“Iron Man 2”) and minor (“A Single Shot,” now available On Demand and opening theatrically in limited release this Friday, September 20, 2013) and makes decisions that other actors wouldn’t even consider. He is so completely, believably in the moment. You don’t see the wheels turning like you do in so many other actor’s performances. He feels natural even in incredibly unnatural situations. He’s the best thing about “A Single Shot,” a film with echoes of “A Simple Plan” & “Winter’s Bone,” elevating it above its flaws as he has done for other films so many times before. Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Finding the deep emotional territory that he hasn’t really mined since his underrated work in “Snow Angels,” Rockwell plays the deeply haunted John Moon, an average guy in a rural community who seems on the edge of deep depression even before the morning that changes his life forever. Director David M. Rosenthal shoots his thriller in long passages of silence, a tone set by the long opening act of the film, which is almost completely free of dialogue.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “A Single Shot” in our reviews section.

John is out early in the morning, hunting a deer. He chases it through the woods, hears a sound behind him, quickly turns, and fires. He realizes that he has just executed a young woman who was living in the woods. Matters grow infinitely more complicated when he finds a large sum of money in the woman’s camp. Who was she? Where did the money come from? Can John possibly hide the body and keep the cash? Making his decisions even more complex, it’s revealed that John is in the middle of a troubled separation with his wife (Kelly Reilly), who threatens to take their child with her. The money could get them back together. The murder could tear them apart forever.

Before John has even fully considered his actions or his options, he’s being threatened by someone over the phone who seems to know a lot about his life. (Or is he? Perhaps he’s snapped under the weight of guilt to the point of true insanity.) Getting counsel from the town’s quirky attorney (William H. Macy), a man who seems to know more than he should about everyone’s business, and also consulting with alcoholic friend Simon (Jeffrey Wright), John can’t seem to find his way through the increasing tension caused not only by the threats but the guilty conscience that haunts his nightmares.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “A Single Shot” review.

“A Single Shot” stars Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Joe Anderson, Ted Levine, Melissa Leo, and William H. Macy. It was directed by David M. Rosenthal and written by Matthew F. Jones. It is now available On Demand and opens in some markets, including Chicago, this Friday, September 20, 2013.

A Single Shot
A Single Shot
Photo credit: Tribeca Films

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