In the cotton fields and back roads of Arkansas, a family feud erupts on the death of the patriarch. Son (Michael Shannon), Kid (Barlow Jacobs) and Boy (Douglas Ligon) Hayes\' father was a selfish drunk who abandoned them as children only to find religion, set up home across town with a new wife and sire four more sons - this time with proper names. When Boy Hayes spits on the old man\'s casket at his funeral, the jealousies and hatreds between the two sets of half brothers are violently aroused.  

Explores the tragic repercussions of a family torn apart.

Everyone in this brooding sad drama talks kind of slow. They seem struck by the sun and weighed down by dust and humidity. The setting is the flat expanse of rural USA and it is not so much a bad land but a whistle stop on the way to somewhere else. If I haven’t mentioned plot yet there is a good reason; in Jeff Nichols tragic tale here, the action is atmosphere and that is the movie\'s odd quirk; Shotgun Stories is a film that hangs on its characters\' need for revenge and its terrible cost.

Son (Michael Shannon), Kid (Barlow Jacobs) and Boy (Douglas Ligon) are the adult children of a violent alcoholic. When their father took off and found religion they were trashed. At his funeral, Son insults his memory and the male siblings of his new family turn this outpouring of rage into the basis of a feud.

As its title suggests Shotgun Stories is a violent film; but it is not the violence of shredding flesh and spurting blood. It is about the violence of tortured souls and its painful to watch. For all its sense of the casual and random, Shotgun Stories is as carefully constructed as the most generic of thrillers; it’s got the emotional pay-off and the promise of redemption. What makes it special are the performances which are lived-in; the actors, especially Michael Shannon, seem wearied by the burden of a life lived under the weight of fear and longing and hurt.


1 hour 27 min
Wed, 04/01/2009 - 11