Making my way through my list and the next film up was Shotgun Stories. This movie was released in 2007 and directed by Jeff Nichols. I give this movie the rating of A Decent Watch. I really enjoyed his movies Take Shelter and Midnight Special so I decided to give this one a shot. Shannon has appeared in both of those films as well as Mud.
The movie is well acted. All of the characters are regular, everyday people. The story takes place in a small Arkansas town. Characters are stuck in dead end jobs. Everyone knows everyone else. There is plenty of gossip. They did not go over the top with southern vernacular which I appreciated. The development is a little slow but I think given the story it makes it more believable.
What is Shotgun Stories?
This film follows Son Hayes (played by Michael Shannon) and his two brothers, Boy (played by Douglas Ligon) and Kid (played by Barlow Jacobs) as they move through their day-to-day life. Son seems to be the only one that has it (pretty much) together. He is married with a small child and has his own home while his brother Boy lives out of a van and Kid lives in a tent in the backyard.
The conflict in the movie is revealed at their father’s burial. We learn that their father was a drunk that abandoned the family. He goes on to find religion, stop drinking, and start a new family. It seems he was more invested in this second family judging even by what he named this second set of sons. The first born he gave his name to.
The director does a great job painting the family dysfunction without blatantly throwing it in the viewer’s face. Their mother is cold and callous. Also we see how their father’s abandonment affects them even after his death.
In closing, I did enjoy this movie even though it won’t be changing any lives. I am not sure if this is a movie I would watch again but I am definitely not sad I saw it. I enjoy Nichols work enough that I will definitely see anything else that he releases.