Directed By – David M. Rosenthal
Starring – Sam Rockwell, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Reilly. William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Joe Anderson, and Jeffery Wright
The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.
Ahh, back to my old roots of watching bleak films about backwoods crimes and the fight to survive. I rode the feeling I had from watching “The Lego Movie” for as long as I could before I got back to the more gritty cinema that I seem to find myself watching a couple times a week. I hope this isn’t a statement of my personality but light hearted comedies and children’s films just aren’t really in my interests. I’ve always gravitated towards dark drama/thrillers and my most recent film “A Single Shot” is a perfect example of the genre. It is not, however, a perfect example of a superior film of that genre.
I’ll be honest, there are just some things that peak my interest. Dark forests and Sam Rockwell are two of these things. The film centers around John Moore, played in typical magnificent fashion by Sam Rockwell. John is out hunting and accidentally pulls a Dick Cheney except instead of a mouthful of birdshot, the victim gets a shotgun blast to the chest and dies. This is in the trailer. This is in the synopsis. This is in the first two minutes of the film. The following two hours is a “wrong place in the wrong time” scenario that we have seen countless numbers of times. There isn’t anything new being presented in this film. The films director, David M. Rosenthal, is not known for many films, but is a talent behind the camera. This is a nice looking film. Most of the film has a dark, ominous color to it that only adds to the already suspenseful atmosphere of running around what I’m assuming is backwoods Kentucky. They may have stated where the film took place but I’ll be honest, I didn’t pick it up. The film reaks of similar films released in the last couple years including “Out of the Furnace” which was released at nearly the same time. The plots may be different but the feel is exactly the same. Everybody is dirty and talks like “Boomhauer” from King of the Hill. I almost turned the captions on because I couldn’t understand what the hell people were saying and it only got worse because as soon as I started to get the gist of what somebody was saying, they pop in chewing tobacco and it all turns to gibberish. Maybe this is why I don’t know where the hell this all took place.
Like I mentioned earlier, the film is nice to look at. The camera paints the bleak backwoods very well and the minimalist/dissonant score actually kept me from clocking out of the film. Sam Rockwell was also extremely good as he continues to prove he should be starring in more films instead of stealing scenes as secondary characters. In the end the bland, redundant, and sometimes unintelligible script was what did this film in for me. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and it’s nothing we won’t see again. I suppose it’s worth a rental but don’t expect to be amazed by what you end up getting.
Related Films – Winter’s Bone, The Hunter, Deliverance
Do you have Netflix? Add this to your queue. I think I’ll be doing a feature article soon on some of the ACTUAL hidden gems on Netflix. Every single list I come across on google has the same movies. I’m sorry said lists, but The Untouchables is not a hidden gem even though it’s cool it’s on Netflix. This film however is one that I’m sure not a lot of people have seen and I’ve never seen it on any list generated in the Neflix lobby but it’s a film well worth your time. William H. Macy, who is amazing in everything, plays an assassin who no longer wants to live his life of murder and enters therapy to try to deal with his emotions about it. There he meets Neve Campbell and the two hit it off.
What has the makings of a typical dark romantic comedy actually turns out a very well crafted and subtle piece on what it means to be truly happy doing what you do for work and how what other people want for you may not always be the best thing. I was very surprised by the film balancing the dark subject matter with little splashes of humor and heart. It also features probably one of the most adorable five year old kids I’ve ever seen even though his dialogue would never be utter by a five year old no matter how smart or sarcastic they are. The late John Ritter and Donald Sutherland also star in this so check it out if you have the time. You have the time just do it.
This is just going to be a collection of my favorite movie scenes/shots. I’ll put the movie title first just in case you don’t want to watch it because you haven’t seen the film. I’ll also give spoiler warnings.
Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite modern day director. He’s amazing. I could write a whole article about him but I’ll just focus on his tracking shots, which I love. The two clips I’m showing are from Magnolia, his 1999 film about chance and fate. The first is a 135 second single take that covers multiple floors and subjects on a TV studio. The second clip is a 79 second shot following William H Macy into a bar where we are introduced to Brad the bartender. Both these clips are just fantastic camera work from a young soon to be legend of film.
Jaws is my favorite film of all time. This is my favorite scene in my favorite film of all time. This is my favorite scene of all time.
FULL METAL JACKET
I’ve always loved this movie but whenever I think of the film, I think of this scene. Kubrick was a one of a kind filmmaker. This is known. He’s always been a fan of tracking shots. I find this special because not only is it a perfectly tracked shot with the soldiers lined up sitting down and stretchers being flashed by in the opposite direction of the camera, but it’s a tracking shot of a tracking shot. I loved how Kubrick filmed filmmakers essentially filing the same shot as he is. Plus…Surfin’ Bird.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
Again, Kubrick…filming airplane sex. Best opening of all time.
Speaking of openings, this is one of the most haunting shots I’ve ever seen, and it opens the film. For those of you who have know idea what film this is. Watch it. It’s amazing.
I could have picked another Frank Booth scene from this movie but this is just too perfect. David Lynch is amazing and Blue Velvet is just a one of a kind film. It’s a disturbing but very emotional film all wrapped in a twisted little package.
12 ANGRY MEN (SLIGHT SPOILERS)
Such a powerful image. 11 men with their backs turned to one.