Film Review: A SINGLE SHOT (directed by David M. Rosenthal / North American premiere at Tribeca Film Festival)

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by Dmitry Zvonkov on April 26, 2013

in Film

JUST A FLESH WOUND

Starring the always brilliant Sam Rockwell, the noirish backwoods thriller A Single Shot, directed by David M. Rosenthal, follows a down and out John Moon (Mr. Rockwell) as his life spirals into an abyss after he accidentally kills a young woman and finds a case full of money. The film starts out quite well. The atmosphere is dark and heavy – full of earth tones and rust, gray skies, bare trees – but not dull. The characters feel authentic and the screenwriter, Matthew F. Jones, infuses the dialogue with plenty of juicy colloquialisms. It’s a savory world that’s created, bordering on the mythological.

Dmitry Zvonkov's Stage and Cinema film review of "A Single Shot."

Unfortunately, as with most thrillers, at about half way, the film begins falling apart, with an ending that feels forced and unbelievable. A few directorial mistakes make for some eye-rolling moments and undermine scenes that otherwise might have worked. But mostly the problems appear to be with the script. A potentially interesting storyline is introduced but never developed. A number of secondary characters who beg to be delved into more deeply are left insufficiently explored, none more so than Pitt (a fascinating William H. Macy). The same holds true for the universe of the film; it’s set up so well that we want to know more about it but find ourselves disappointed. There is a sense that A Single Shot can’t quite decide whether it’s genre is thriller or character-driven independent film (“independent film” having long ago become a genre). Starting out as one and ending up as the other the result feels like it’s neither here nor there.

Dmitry Zvonkov's Stage and Cinema film review of "A Single Shot."

photos © Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

A Single Shot
A Bron Studios / Unified Pictures / Unanimous Entertainment Production
n association with Media House Capital, Demarest Films and Visionary Pictures
Canada / UK / USA – 2013 – Color – 116 min.
North American premiere at Tribeca Film Festival
for screening times, visit Tribeca

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