A Single Shot

For dedicated, respected, and talented actors, it’s still and will always be about the work—and taking it wherever you can find it. A Single Shot is a well-made, low-budget indie film that touts a superlative cast featuring Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, Ted Levine, and William H. Macy. With a pedigree like that, you’d think this film might have received a bigger push at the box office, but it was easily overlooked amidst the whirl of mainstream Hollywood entertainment. A Single Shot borrows significant elements from No Country for Old Men, Winter’s Bone, and A Simple Plan in trying to carve its own niche in the genre, but it lacks the kinetic energy of those films, and this ain’t the Cohen brothers by a long shot. The film does succeed at creating the dark and depressing backwoods, small-town atmosphere, and the creepy-as-hell people who inhabit it.

Rockwell plays John Moon, a hunter who tracks a deer through the dense Appalachian forests near his trailer home. A rustle of movement in the bushes nearby provokes him to reflexively fire his shotgun at the sound, only to discover that he’s just fatally wounded a young woman. When he finds a lockbox full of hundred-dollar bills in her possession, he’s prompted to hide the body, take the cash, and not report the accident to anyone. And as sure as night follows day, ruthless killers come searching for their missing money, and Moon is their prime target. Tension, aggression, and violence escalate from there.

514oneshot.box.jpgThe HD picture sports a crisp and even transfer. The tone of this film is bleak, bleak, and more bleak, and the dour visuals aptly suit the mood. Perpetually overcast and gray, bright colors and sunlight are nonexistent, and where poorly pixilated gradation between light and dark is expected, there is little to cause distraction. Whether indoors or out, the color scheme remains drab and uninviting, and it’s a suitably effective mood enhancer.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio has a few flourishes of forest ambience, a passing train, and gunfire but ultimately offers little beyond its oppressive and haunting score that holds court in the center channel. This is a dark drama, and there is as much menace in the quieter moments as there is with the noise. A Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix is offered too.

Extras are bare-bones and include a short making-of featurette, cast and crew interviews, and theatrical trailer. No DVD or Digital Copy.

Studio: Well Go USA, 2013
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 116 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: David M. Rosenthal
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Jason Isaacs