International Film Circuit | Release Date: March 26, 2008
7.5
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 26 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
20
Mixed:
4
Negative:
2
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8
Nesbitt10Jun 16, 2013
"Shotgun Stories" is a moody melodrama of Southern rural life smartly observed.
Jeff Nichols shoots his first feature film, trusting the scenery, the faces of his actors creating the atmosphere while he relies on small town, everyday life
"Shotgun Stories" is a moody melodrama of Southern rural life smartly observed.
Jeff Nichols shoots his first feature film, trusting the scenery, the faces of his actors creating the atmosphere while he relies on small town, everyday life circumstances for character building. "Shotgun Stories" is a tragedy that unfolds beautifully as an intimate family drama. It serves as a passionate cry to end senseless violence, as well as a stark reminder that we possess the power to determine our own destinies.

Set against the backdrop of rural Arkansas, "Shotgun Stories" follows an escalating feud between two sets of half-brothers who differ in every way, except for one side of their parental heritage. We are first introduced to Son (Michael Shannon), Boy (Dougls Ligon), and Kid Hayes (Barlow Jacobs), born to a drunken father who didn't have the decency to give his offspring names, and rejected by a mother who was too bitter to care for them. The father decides to abandon his first family to find sobriety, God, and to begin a new life with another family. He fathers four more sons who were given the real names and the upbringing they deserved. The second Hayes family owns a cotton and soybean farm and is comfortably middle class. Son, in contrast, works at a fish hatchery and loses all his money trying to perfect a "system" he thinks can beat the local casino. Kid sleeps in a tent in Son's yard, and Boy lives in a van by the river. When their father dies the sets of brothers are brought together at his funeral, and their previously harbored hostilities erupt and further escalate.

Nichols makes a point not to show us the actual violence on screen. He often cuts away at the critical moments of a confrontation, and it is Nichols' approach to film making that strips away any glamour associated with the violence while being consistent with his message.

It should be noted that the pacing here is pretty slow albeit realistically so. Thankfully the performances alone are sufficient to keep this counter-revenge tragedy on track. The performances are uniformly excellent with veteran character actor Michael Shannon as the film's emotional anchor. There is plenty to enjoy in "Shotgun Stories," just don't anticipate all the fireworks.
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5
cabritaJan 23, 2012
I found the films concept and story to be quite ineresting.However after the opening scenes of the film the film became uninteresting and very boring due to it's lack of anything. The film looses you because you do not feel their dellema norI found the films concept and story to be quite ineresting.However after the opening scenes of the film the film became uninteresting and very boring due to it's lack of anything. The film looses you because you do not feel their dellema nor do you find the tragedys that happen in the film to be very affecting. Ultinately the film is beautifully shot, but it lacked depth and did not tell it's story in an interesting way that involed me. The director of shotgun stories has improved in his writting and directing in his newest film Take Shelter. Collapse
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3
ERG1008Sep 3, 2010
Nicely shot but quite slow.
Just found it all a bit dull really & didn't care about the characters.
I was waiting for stuff to happen & it sort of didn't.
0 of 3 users found this helpful03
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1
KelaM.Jul 12, 2008
I decided to watch this movie after seeing the high ratings but I was throughly disappointed.It was a pain going through the entire movie which often dragged and was marked by some poor acting by the self-conscious actors.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
AlexPMay 28, 2008
From the trailer and title I was expecting some epic gun play flick but what I got instead was some a acted and intense movie dealing with with family, loss, grief, and revenge. How marvelously mislead I was.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
JonathanR.May 13, 2008
This is a movie I looked forward to seeing for months. The story moves slowly at times, but it fits the mood of the region and the mood of the characters. Its not an action film with characters hell-bent for vengance, its a movie about This is a movie I looked forward to seeing for months. The story moves slowly at times, but it fits the mood of the region and the mood of the characters. Its not an action film with characters hell-bent for vengance, its a movie about weighing options, doing whats right, realizing whats wrong and finding where the breaking point lies. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
LarryN.Apr 10, 2008
Moving and startling picture of small-town America, which,of course, is America. This story is sensitively and deftly told by directorJeff Nichols and actor Michael Shannon.
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