"A man accidentally kills a young girl which starts a tense cat and mouse game between the shooter and a couple of criminals who are now looking for him." A film full of oddball characters and an unnerving landscape, you wouldn't be wrong to think that this is the plot for an upcoming Coen Brothers film. David M. Rosenthal does his best Coen Brothers impression and while sometimes missing the mark, "A Single Shot" is a film going experience that you won't forget.
John Moon (Rockwell) is a hunter who lives off of the land, killing to help him survive. A man with no money and no job, his hunting skills seem to be only reason we don't find him at a soup kitchen. But things change pretty quickly for him; while hunting down a deer (in a no hunting zone) he accidentally shoots a woman hiding behind a bush. Unsure of what to do, he hides the body in the nearest dumpster. He then goes to the girls' tent and comes across a whole ton of money, which he should have left but, of course, he takes it.
What is his reasoning for taking the money? To hire a lawyer and try to win back his wife, Moira (Reilly). So he stops by a shady lawyer who has helped his best friend Simon out who goes by the name of Pitt (Macy). Moon tells Pitt that he doesn't want a divorce and to tell his wife’s lawyer that he's willing to go to counseling to fix things. To pay for his time, Moon pays with hundreds, which leaves Pitt with a sort of suspicious feeling.
From here on out, things get mighty interesting for John Moon. He has people on him now trying to get the money he took, while trying to keep his wife out of the picture, so she stays safe. Of course, things aren't always what they seem... and John Moon realizes that the people he thought were on his side, just might not actually be.
"A Single Shot" has one of the best casts in any film this year and none of the actors disappoint. From Sam Rockwell to Ophelia Lovibond, these are some of the best performances of the year. In particular, the performance of Jason Isaacs is the one that surprised me the most since, while I knew he was in the film... I didn't recognize him at all. That's a credit to screenwriter Matthew Jones, who takes his novel and translates it to the big screen flawlessly.
"A Single Shot" uses setting in such a unique way, taking the Vancouver forests and backwoods as a character within itself. With strong performances, chilling cinematography by Eduard Grau, and solid directing, "A Single Shot" could end up being one of the most underrated and underappreciated films of the year. With his fourth feature film, David M. Rosenthal takes a big jump in his progression as a director, creating a tense and atmospheric neo-noir film that leaves a lasting impact on its viewers.
"A Single Shot" is now playing at Empire 25.
Joshua Kaye contributed reporting.