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Shotgun Stories


Stars: Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs, Glenda Pannell, Lyndsee Province, Natalie Canerday, David Rhodes, Travis Smith

Director: Jeff Nichols

Twanging guitar music, moody atmosphere, and characters named Son, Boy and Kid (Shannon, Ligon, Jacobs) herald one of those slow, brooding rural dramas about the futility of life in a small, deadbeat American town - this one set in Arkansas.

The aforementioned trio of brothers, layabouts all - Kid lives in a tent in Son's garden - are the spawn of a hated father who left them in the not-so-tender care of their (equally hated) mother, and sired four more sons with a new wife.

Gatecrashing Dad's funeral, Son gives his opinion of the old man in no uncertain fashion, capping the insults by spitting on the coffin. Violence and retribution do ensue - but you shouldn't be persuaded that this is an action-packed movie. Far from it.

Despite a commendable melding of landscape and man, and some striking individual shots, the film has major flaws: almost every scene goes on too long, especially when characters are doing very little. Thus too much of it is like watching paint dry. Performances are purposely low-key.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Revolver. Technicolor.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 17 May 2008