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David M. Rosenthal
Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Joe Anderson, Jeffrey Wright
Writing Credits:
Matthew F. Jones (novel)

One Mistake.

When John Moon (Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots a young woman and discovers a bag full of cash, the isolated hunter becomes the hunted. His struggle to conceal both the death and the money triggers a cascade of events and encounters that ultimately escalates into a battle for survival.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$10.020 thousand on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.020 thousand.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 1/14/2014

• “Making Of” Featurette
• Interviews
• Trailer
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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A Single Shot [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 10, 2014)

In 2013’s A Single Shot, we get a story about the fateful consequences of a tragic mistake. During a hunting trip near his West Virginia home, John Moon (Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. When he investigates her campsite, Moon finds a box filled with money, which he chooses to keep.

Moon leaves the woman’s corpse in a dumpster and goes on with his life, which means he mostly attempts to restart his relationship with estranged wife Jess (Kelly Reilly). Moon’s actions come back to haunt him, however, as a mysterious party promises to kill him if he doesn’t return what he took. We follow Moon’s path as he attempts to deal with this threat.

With all that on display, one might expect Shot to deliver a taut cat and mouse story. Instead, it brings us a whole lot of nothing.

Not that it comes with no positives. For one, it boasts a strong cast; in addition to Rockwell and Reilly, we find talents such as William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Jeffrey Wright and Jason Isaacs. All do pretty well in their roles, as they convey the “country” aspects of the characters without overdoing those tendencies and make this cliché Hee Haw territory.

Actually, I will call shenanigans on one aspect of the casting: there sure do seem to be an awful lot of model-beautiful women in this podunk town. They all appear eager and willing to sleep with any scraggly 40-something men they find, too. If a town like this actually exists, please let me know – I’m a scraggly 40-something man!

The story of Shot also fares pretty well through its first third or so. It creates an unusual take on its topic, mainly because it seems so unconcerned with the shooting at its start. While Moon seems vaguely haunted by his actions, the film doesn’t follow the standard path and it delves into the backstory in a gradual and involving manner.

For a while, at least. Eventually, however, the slow nature of the story-telling becomes a problem, as we lose interest in the characters and events. This turns into a negative because we drift away from the narrative when we should feel most involved; it’s a bad sign when a movie’s greatest moments of potential drama fail to convey much of an impression.

I do respect the film’s attempts to avoid too many clichés, but A Single Shot simply lacks the substance to make it compelling. With a slow story and dull characters, it never quite gets off the ground.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

A Single Shot appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Nothing here excelled, but the transfer worked fine.

Sharpness was almost always strong, though interiors could be a little soft. These elements didn’t look significantly ill-defined, but they lacked great clarity. Still, most of the movie showed appropriate delineation. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.

To match its tone and setting, Shot opted for desaturated hues, so flat blues dominated. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine, as they showed appropriate range. Blacks were dark and full, but shadows were occasionally a bit heavy; they weren’t terribly opaque, but they could’ve been clearer. All this added up to a good but not great image.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Single Shot worked acceptably well. Various gunfire elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. These scenes didn’t emerge on a frequent basis, but when they appeared, they utilized the soundscape in a worthwhile manner, and music made active use of the different channels.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. This felt like a “B” soundtrack.

A handful of extras finish the set. A Making of featurette runs 26 minutes, 19 seconds and includes comments from writer Matthew F. Jones, producers Keith Kjarval, Aaron L. Gilbert and Chris Coen, director David M. Rosenthal, cinematographer Eduard Grau, and actors William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Rockwell, Joe Anderson, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs and Ophelia Lovibond. We learn about story/character areas, the novel’s path to the screen, cast and performances, cinematography and the choice to shoot on film instead of digital, and Rosenthal’s impact on the production.

“Making of” delivers a pretty good overview of the film. It delves into a nice mix of subjects and does so with a minimum of the usual happy talk. While it doesn’t substitute for an audio commentary, the featurette covers the circumstances in a satisfying manner.

Under Interviews, we locate two clips: “Sam Rockwell” (23:25) and “William H. Macy” (6:41). Rockwell discusses what brought him to the film, his character and performance, working with Rosenthal and the other actors, themes, working on indie productions, and various challenges he encountered during the shoot. As for Macy, he covers similar topics for the most part.

With so much more time at his disposal, it comes as no surprise that Rockwell offers the more content of the two actors. Despite suffering from a cold, he proves to be chatty and engaging. Macy also keeps us interested as he discusses his side of the project.

Question of the day: does Melissa Leo appear in this film? Rockwell discusses working with her, and a few reviews I found online mention her. However, she’s not in the credits – or even listed as “uncredited” on IMDB. When I did an image search for her, the photos that alleged to show Leo actually depicted Amy Sloan.

So I’ll be darned if I know what happened to Leo. I’d guess that she ended up cut from the final version and the critics who mentioned her either saw an earlier rendition in which she appeared or goofed. All I know is that if she’s in the version of Shot On this Blu-ray, I can’t find her!

The disc opens with ads for Child of God, McCanick, and The Truth About Emanuel. We also find the trailer for Shot.

With a strong cast and a promising premise, I thought A Single Shot could’ve been a satisfying character drama. While it has some good moments, it drags too much and doesn’t manage to take us on a satisfying and involving journey. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio with a few informative bonus elements. I want to like Shot but don’t find much in it to recommend.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
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