Shotgun Stories

Shotgun Stories

DVD - 2008
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This film tracks a blood feud between two sets of half brothers in the cotton-fielded back roads of Southeast Arkansas. The first set of Hayes boys were deserted by a violent, alcoholic father who never gave them proper names. The second Hayes family knew a different, sober man who led a comfortable middle-class life. When those first sons crash his funeral, the anger that had rested in the background of their lives threatens to rise up and overtake them all. The escalating violence that ensues stretches the lengths to which each will go to protect their family.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : Liberation Entertainment : Distributed by Genius Entertainment, 2008
Branch Call Number: DVD SHOTGUN
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (91 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Feb 07, 2014

The film moves quite slowly and deliberately, but it’s portrayal of dead end life in a contemporary poverty stricken rural world in the South seemed vivid and convincing and never the tired cliché the film could well have been. Shannon and the rest of the cast do an excellent job. When things seemingly get out of hand and both sides come to the realization that the feuding must end or no one will be left, the film concludes in a subtle manner that leaves the situation both resolved and yet ambiguously open ended as to the futures for the survivors.

voisjoe1 Oct 28, 2012

Three brothers are taught by their mother to hate their half brothers because she was a scorned woman. This leads to tragedy that seems to have no end. Michael Shannon appeared in this indie film because he appreciates challenging roles. He would soon play in his Oscar nominated role in Revolutionary Road (costarring with Dicaprio and Winslett) and then become a regular in the TV series Boardwalk Empire.

Mar 06, 2009

Rented "Shotgun Stories" for one reason only: To get a closer look at Michael Shannon - the 2009 Oscar's Best Supporting Actor nominee in "Revolutionary Road" - a film directed by Sam Mendes and starring his wife Kate Winslet (this year's Best Actress Award winner for the movie "The Reader") and Leonardo DiCaprio.
This isn't Michael Shannon's only other time on the big screen: Shannon's little shell game as a smart-talking gambler in the movie "Lucky You" - completely stole every scene he was in - at Eric Bana's expense. That was no small feat considering Bana was supposed to be the anointed "star" of that movie.
And Shannon's small role in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" would have been forgettable - if many another actor had played it - but he stuck out in that movie too, despite his minor screen appearance.
"Shotgun Stories" got high marks from movie critics and film buffs alike (what do they know, right? LOL) but commercial Hollywood took a pass... so who was right?
Besides wanting to see Michael Shannon in a starring role where he was the main protagonist, I figured: Why not see this flick, even though it got absolutely zippo play on the big screen?
Well... all I can say - aside from acknowledging Shannon's work as being just as powerful in this movie as his Oscar nominating performance in the Mendes film - is this: Sometimes Hollywood gets it right!
Minus Michael Shannon - "Shotgun Stories" is pretty lame. With a plot so agonizingly slow to flow as molasses, it sets the viewer up for not one big fall - but several semi-big unsatisfying-falls - and leaves you mad at yourself for having spent the time thinking it was ever going to take off.
Start with three hick nameless brothers ( I kid you not: They are simply called Son, Boy, and Kid), who have it bad for a father who left them not only nameless, but abandoned into the care of a mother who seemed totally indifferent to the boys - such was her hate for their father!
And if that wasn't bad enough... add three other brothers from the same father but with another woman who apparently were raised right because he'd settled down by then and actually gave them names. When dad dies, they all come together somewhat unpleasantly at his funeral - and you have what I thought had the makings of some real applicable tension - the kind that makes movies edgy at least - enough to unsettle you from your comfortable chair and make you want to see what happens next.
You would think that... but you would be wrong.
Even the obligatory killings in this movie are predictable and strangely happen off-camera (a technique that I thought went out of style in the 60's) And stranger still - the way the tensions between all these half-brothers is finally settled, leaves you wondering: "What the heck was that about?"
The last few scenes in the movie seems almost apocryphal given everything that happened in the movie before them... but maybe that was always what this movie wanted to say and largely the point of the movie... simply giving the viewer a visionary slice of life found in the laid-back lifestyle of South-east Arkansas, with its back roads and sprawling cotton fields.
2-STARS - and I'm being generous!


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Mar 26, 2009

Coarse Language: some course language may be offensive

Mar 26, 2009

Violence: there is malevolence n the air - and you keep waiting for the violence... but when it comes - it's antic-limactic, seeing as it mostly happens off screen


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Mar 06, 2009

Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father...


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