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03 Sep 2013

Home Video Review: Sam Rockwell Makes 'A Single Shot' Passable

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Sam Rockwell in A Single Shot. Sam Rockwell in A Single Shot.

Sometimes, all a movie really needs is Sam Rockwell.

Rockwell stars in A Single Shot as John Moon, a reclusive poacher living in a trailer deep in the woods. One morning while out hunting a deer, he accidentally shoots a woman. Then, he finds a whole lot of money (echoes of A Simple Plan) and decides to keep it in an effort to make things better with his estranged wife (Kelly Reilly).

Of course, the money actually belongs to bad people—and those bad people will be coming after John Moon. They most certainly will.

A Single Shot doesn’t feel original; in fact, it feels a bit hackneyed at times. But the performances are often riveting, and Rockwell keeps it watchable. There’s also an unrecognizable Jason Isaacs as an unsavory sort, with the underrated Joe Anderson also playing a bad guy. William H. Macy brings a slight taste of comedy to his shifty lawyer character, and Jeffrey Wright is devastatingly good as the town drunk.

Director David M. Rosenthal, directing the script by Matthew F. Jones (who also wrote the novel on which the film is based), gives the film a nice, gloomy atmosphere. His work has consisted mostly of comedies in the past, making his achievements here impressive, all things considered. You never get the sense that this is a director working outside of his comfort zone.

All in all, this is Rockwell’s movie, and it’s a departure for him after a recent string of comedies and lighthearted fare. (He’s currently in cinemas with the coming-of-age comedy The Way Way Back.) This is a passable movie that is perhaps a little beneath his talent—but, hey, it’s Sam Rockwell.

The film is available to watch via sources including Amazon.com and iTunes.

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