Even if Michael Shannon is the only seasoned actor in Jeff Nichols’ “Shotgun Stories”, this subtle drama is stilled pulled off effectively, delivering the actual tone of small town, rural life. Based around a feud between two sets of sons fathered by the same alcoholic-turned-Christian man, the violence is made more realistic by the downplayed nature of it all. If casually watching the film, the depth of the dialogue is lost. Produced by David Gordon Green and exhibiting the same slowly paced and real life concoctions of Green, Nichols directs a commendable first feature film of his career.
Michael Shannon delivers a solid, tent-post performance, carrying enough star-power to keep the unknown supporting cast from watering down the film. With several strong deliveries, specifically his words to his deadbeat mother, “You raised us to hate those boys, and we do. And now it’s come to this”, the film often carries more weight than you think it would. All the while, a deep, latent humor exists, like when one of the brothers buys a shotgun in an act of revenge, but must then be shown how to properly assemble and load it by one of their friends. Amassed with beautiful rural landscapes and an almost nostalgic cinematography from Green’s own cinematographer, Adam Stone, “Shotgun Stories” is a classic that exudes the touch and feel of a film 10 to 20 years older than it is.
Release Date: March 26, 2008 || Director: Jeff Nichols || Distributed By: Multicom Entertainment Group Inc.
Rated PG-13 for violence, thematic elements and brief strong language