Shotgun Stories

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Jeff Nichols' debut film tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father...


This cautionary tale of two groups of feuding half-brothers plays out against the reality of daily life in small-town Arkansas. It is to the credit of first-time director Nichols that we never lose sight of these surroundings: amid the wavering fields of cotton, our central trio of Son (Shannon), Boy (Ligon) and Kid (Jacobs) spend their days drinking beer and nestling into their banal routines.

Nichols keeps the dialogue sparse until the death of their abusive father forces Son to deliver an incendiary speech that rekindles the war between the two sets of siblings. Below a placid exterior, Shannon exudes the sort of insular rage he displayed in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, and it is through his turmoil that thoughts of revenge pave the way to pain, heartache and ultimately redemption.

An interesting first effort from Nichols - making him a director to look out for in the future.