Helped by some of its performances and some building tension.
One of the year's strangest-almost disappointing films, "A Single Shot" is only respectable because Sam Rockwell is doing a very nice work following an average script that on better hands would result in a gripping project. It's not much of a script problem but a matter of choices made that turned this film into something almost unbearable and unintelligible. The premise is good enough to make you interested but there's mistakes on the way, whether poor editorial choices, terrible sound and a messy, uninvolved and unexplainable situations.
Sam plays a lonely man who believes has an answer to all of his marital problems after finding a great amount of money in the woods where he was hunting. But there's a dead girl's body involved, people who want to find her and the money and as usual it's the dangerous kind of people. Now this hunted hunter will have to find ways of solving the upcoming obstacles on his way before it gets too late.
"A Single Shot" is the kind of movie that depends on who's behind the material and how it's going to developed. It could be everything but ordinary - which sadly is. It has a sort of Coen brothers kind of setting and if created or made by them it would an instant classic, clever and powerfully well-acted. But here while trying to be artistic constructing a character development (limited to the main character of course), the screenplay and the director forced a slow pace (at first very good but then it got annoying), kept confusing and sounded awfully. The last one though. If only we could hear the actors speaking, or at least understand what they're saying. Rockwell's best friend, played by Jeffrey Wright, is an important piece of the story but he's constantly drunk, forcing an already hard dialect and that's it. What's he saying with all those mumbled words? Not to mention that some connections are strangely made and all of sudden Sam receives threats after threats (that's when the movie takes of for good) by the psychotic character played by Jason Isaacs.
It's worth seeing though. It keeps your interest (but not fully), the director knows how to create a great sense of menace and fear, and it's easy to relate with the leading man and his problems that only get bigger and bigger, just wanting to make things simple. Rockwell is a knockout here, in the great things and in the small ones too. Pay attention to his character composition, how he communicates plenty with saying much and at each scene is injured in some way. It's nuanced performance just as much as of William H. Macy as the crippled lawyer (too bad he's in it for brief scenes) and the frightening Joe Anderson (the first confrontation between him and Sam is very good). Everyone else in here doesn't convince all that much.
Not easy enough to be considered an entertainment, nor patient and important to be art. Minor but good. 6/10
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