Combustible Celluloid
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With: Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs, Natalie Canerday, Glenda Pannell, Lynnsee Provence, Michael Abbott Jr., Coley Canpany, Cole Hendrixson, Vivian Morrison Norman, Tucker Prentiss, Wyatt Ashton Prentiss, David Rhodes, Travis Smith, G. Alan Wilkins
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, thematic elements and brief strong language
Running Time: 92
Date: 02/14/2007

Shotgun Stories (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Over Two Barrels

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Shannon (Bug) gives a commanding, steely performance among an otherwise able, amateur cast as "Son" Hayes, one of three Arkansas brothers long ago abandoned by their no good, drunk daddy. (In a kind of ugly paternal branding, the others are named "Kid" and "Boy.") When the old man dies, Son inadvertently starts a feud with his half-brothers, the reformed father's new family. This promising debut feature by Jeff Nichols is remarkable for its use of inaction, the threats, standoffs, aborted shoving matches, but very little actual violence; various motor vehicles also brilliantly define the characters' personality. David Gordon Green (Snow Angels) co-produced, and the film has some of his hallmarks: run-down, rural communities, and welcome pauses and empty spaces in the narrative.

DVD Details: The new DVD, from Liberation/Genius Entertainment, comes with a director's commentary track, a still gallery, a music-only track (highlighting the music of Ben Nichols and Lucero) and trailers for this and other features.

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