Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Shotgun Stories is a 2007 drama-thriller film written and directed by Jeff Nichols, and stars Michael Shannon, Barlow Jacobs, and Glenda Pannell.

Two families linked by the same father explode into a violent rivalry in this independent Southern gothic drama, the first feature from director Jeff Nichols. Cleaman Hayes lived and died in Little Rock, AR, where he had seven sons by two different women. After wedding Nicole (Natalie Canerday), Cleaman sired three sons, and his lack of concern for their future was reflected in the fact he barely gave them names -- they were dubbed Son (Michael Shannon), Kid (Barlow Jacobs) and Boy (Douglas Ligon).

One day, Cleaman abandoned his wife and sons, and left them to survive in deep poverty that has trapped them to this day. Eventually Cleaman cleaned up his act, launched a successful business, married again, and raised four more sons -- Cleaman Jr. (Michael Abbott, Jr.), Mark (Travis Smith), Stephen (Lynsee Provence) and John (David Rhodes), all of whom were given the love and attention Cleaman denied his first three children.

When Cleaman dies, all seven sons attend the funeral, and Son, overcome by bitterness, spits on his father's coffin and tells everyone how much he hated the man. Short tempered Mark answers Son with his fists, and a free-for-all breaks out between the two Hayes families. The anger and rivalry doesn't end at the end of the day, and soon a war has broken out between the clans, with no small amount of blood shed on either side.

There are some people in good ol' US of A who think they can solve problems with guns. I think that is because we have grown to become dependent on guns. Especially ever since it was made law that every person has the right to have one. However, that was made law a few hundred years ago when there was a war going on in our own country. People had to protect themselves and their family, it was understandable. Now that law is abused by people using guns to steal, hurt and kill people for millions of different reasons.

I think that the owning a gun law should only apply to where you live. If you live in an area that is generally safe, then it is fine. But if you live somewhere like Detroit, then no. Everyone should be aloud to protect themselves but not with guns which contribute to a lot of deaths in America and give us a bad name. Besides, when is the last time you heard of someone killing someone else in self defense with a gun, who wasn't a cop?

I'm getting off the topic of the movie though. Shotgun Stories is a movie where two families who are related by one person, hate each other, and resort to violence to solve it. Guns don't come into play until later in the film and even then they don't really come into play at all. It's not about the guns but about what happens to bring them about. The film is realistic in a way and no wonder that it was produced by David Gordon Green who is the master of making movies that seem realistic.

The score is creepy and good. The cinematography perfectly captures the small town south. All the actors who are unknown and never acted before, except for Michael Shannon who you've probably seen in small roles, do a great job as their characters. I especially liked Boy, who seems kind of like a doofus, he tries to hook up an air conditioner in his van, but is probably the most sensible of the brothers.

Shotgun Stories is a really good film that shows you just how angry some people get over things that can be worked out with words but instead are settled with fists and guns.

Shotgun Stories is a 7 out of 10.

The DVD has no special features.



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