SYNOPSIS: When a jobless recluse John Moon accidentally shoots and kills a young woman while hunting in the backwoods, his panic turns to greed when he finds her campsite and a small fortune in cash. Hiding the body, he takes the money in hopes it will win back his estranged wife. But when his sudden wealth draws the attention of a vicious ex-con, Moon is dragged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.


To start with, A Single Shot is set in a bleak, depressing world. It’s always cold and dark for whatever reason and almost every character depicted here is a roughneck of sort and talk with a slur; don’t say I didn’t warn you to switch on the subtitles.

Anyway, the underrated Sam Rockwell plays John Moon (ironically he starred in a little sci-fi thriller called Moon back in 2009); a man so down on his luck and on the brink of a divorce accidentally shot dead a woman while on a deer hunting trip in the woods. Instead of calling the cops, Moon took her body back to her campsite and stumbled upon a box of cash. Needless to say, Moon took the money and finds himself in a whole lot of trouble liked receiving mysterious phone calls and his dog killed.        

Matthew F. Jones who adapted the screenplay from his own book clearly has problems translating his words into action. Numerous characters fade in and out to push along the story and mostly it’s the dreading atmosphere that keeps you glue to the screen instead of the plotting. Among the colorful characters are William H. Macy’s as a small-town lawyer Daggard Pitt who might have an ulterior motive of his own but who knows. Moon’s best friend, Simon (Jeffrey Wright from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) who tends to appear onscreen garbling garbage about women and drinking booze and a tattooed psycho dubbed The Hen (Joe Anderson).  

Its no doubt Sam Rockwell is one capable actor. He doesn’t really have lots to say in A Single Shot yet beneath all that bushy facial hair, we came to believe his character is a man who sets out to become a better person to his estranged wife and infant son but unfortunately destroyed by one costly mistake.

It’s a simple story through and through and it’s most gripping when the menacing antagonist Jason Isaacs finally shows up in the third act revealing himself as the threatening Waylon. However before the climax, director David M. Rosenthal prefers to take things to a crawl thus forestalling the tension and adrenalin in this unnecessarily long dragged out movie. 


Commentary with Sam Rockwell and Director David M. Rosenthal is an often-informative track. The duo is funny, lively and provides some interesting off-screen anecdotes liked the deer Moon thrown into the water is road killed instead of being slaughter specifically for the movie.


This is one movie that sets out to test your eyesight. The scenes are mostly set in low light, dark and brooding. Occasionally you can’t even make out what’s going on. Not the fault of the DVD but the artistic choice of the D.P. and director. The audio track is relatively quiet save for the sound of gunfire, clear dialogue and ambient effects. 



Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Thriller/Drama
David M. Rosenthal
Cast: Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Melissa Leo, Jeffery Wright, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Reilly, Joe Anderson,
Ophelia Lovibond, Ted Levine, Amy Sloan, W. Earl Brown, Heather Lind
Rating: M18 (Violence And Nudity)
Year Made: 2013


Commentary with Sam Rockwell and Director David M. Rosenthal


Languages: English/Japanese/Portuguese/Spanish/Thai
Subtitles: English/Chinese/Japanese/Korean/
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Region Code: 3