Review: ‘A Single Shot’ Starring Sam Rockwell

sam-rockwell-a-single-shotI am a huge fan of Sam Rockwell. I honestly think he’s one of the most talented and versatile actors working today and he proves it once again by rescuing director David M. Rosenthal‘s, A Single Shot.

Rockwell plays John Moon, who, when the film starts is out hunting deer. He spots one, chases it through the woods and shoots. Unfortunately, he accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. He rushes up to her and as he watches her die, finds a box of money. He quickly hides the body, takes the money and hi-tails it out of there.

Using his new found cash, Moon hires the town lawyer (William H. Macy) to help him fight his divorce but he  soon discovers that the money belonged to a couple of thugs, and guess what? They want it back. 

The first two-thirds of the film is a pretty good character study of Moon and Rockwell is just damn good here. The film here is also dark and moody and thanks to Macy, sporting a bad toupee and bum arm, quite enjoyable. But that changes with the last act of the film when Moon finds himself running from a pair of interchangeable baddies, including an unrecognizable Jason Isaacs, in long, jet-black hair, beard and tats, as the main thug. The guy is a true chameleon. Seriously, I was almost finished with the film when I finally figured out it was him.

One could get over the last act if that was all there but the main problem with the film is that I just didn’t care about any of the other characters. Besides Moon and Macy’s lawyer, there is not one person in the whole film you could remotely care about… save for the neighbor, a young innocent woman who takes a liking to Moon. But even that’s hard to care for her because she, like most of the characters in the film, are purely one-note. The mood of the film – the dark, pre-storm atmospheric feel – is more of a character.

And it’s a shame because there are wonderful actors trying their best to bring to live these people; including Jeffrey Wright, Isaacs and Macy, who is in full on scene-stealing mode.

One thing I was never sure about: Why doesn’t he initially tell the cops about killing the woman? It was a total accident.

Moon, though, is a pretty unlikeable guy. Bitter from losing his job and land, one can absolutely see why his wife (Kelly Reilly) left him. But, with Rockwell playing him, he never once has an uninteresting moment. And that alone is one reason to watch this.

A Single Shot is directed by David M. Rosenthal and written by Matthew F. Jones, based on his own novel of same name. The film stars Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Ted Levine, Kelly Reilly and Jason Isaacs.

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