Familiar moody premise, but mature execution that pays off in the end.
Although A Single Shot has a familiar moody premise, its mature execution makes it worth watching. Matthew F. Jones adapted the screenplay from his own novel and it does quite show that there's something novelistic about its structure. Our protagonist spends most of his time weaving between encounters with characters he knows well about business we see the half of. Jones has himself a rich world and we're only seeing a peek at it. It does mean that he gets wrapped up in a little too much and it feels like the first two thirds of the film feel slow and unfocused. But it's all worth it for the third act. Now, that part is new to me. Absolutely nail- biting climax, heart-breaking buildup and a great ambiguous ending. Shame they saved all the punches for the that last half an hour rather than the first ninety. Unfortunately, as characters mumble and grumble so much, I could only catch about a quarter of what people were saying until I needed subtitles and that severely affected my emotional investment and my knowledge of what was going on. I could figure out the broad strokes though. The performances all round were good, Jeffrey Wright is a tragic standout. Sam Rockwell dissolves into his role which is a good thing and a bad thing since I love it when he turns his charm on. Good solid thriller.
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