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A Single Shot (Blu-ray Review)

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.comWhen John Moon (Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots a young woman and discovers a bag full of cash, the isolated hunter becomes the hunted. His struggle to conceal both the death and the money triggers a cascade of events and encounters that ultimately escalates into a battle for survival. Here’s a film that sort of caught me of guard in that it has a great ensemble cast of actors that I like. I like every single one of them there on that cover art. Let’s hope the film delivers on the epic casting. 

 

A SingleShot - www.whysoblu.com

Film 

As the header clearly states A Single Shot is the story of John Moon (Sam Rockwell) a lonely West Virginia wilderness-type-of-guy who lives by the laws of the land. John hunts for his food and stays in a trailer home out in the middle of nowhere. One day while hunting deer he accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. He locates some of the young girl’s belongings at a campsite and finds a box containing a couple hundred thousand dollars. He hides the body and takes the loot. It’s time for life to get back to normal, right?

Moon, outside of what he’s just done, has other very real problems of his own. He’s estranged from his wife Moira (Kelly Reilly) and has a young son. He tries to do the best he can by giving them some cash to hold them over until he gets a real job. Of course once he’s offered a real job by one of the locals (Ted Levine) he turns it down. It also brings about the usual questions of where did he get the money and so forth. Moira works at the local diner and isn’t quite cutting it there. As John tries to work things out with her strange characters start popping out of the woodwork that all seem to be related to the dealings involving the large sum of cash he found and the girl he accidentally killed.

A Single Shot is a very minimalist type of film. It’s one of those “slow burn” films that keep the chatter to a minimum especially when Sam Rockwell is onscreen. In fact, the first fifteen minutes of the film are spent with Rockwell alone, with no dialogue at all. Other characters start showing up after that “extended” intro and we really get into the meat of the story from then on. A Single Shot also plays a bit like a western-noir film in that it’s very dark, atmospheric, and there are a bunch of colorful characters that show up. William H. Macy plays Moon’s attorney who is handling his separation and may know a thing or two about other events in the small nameless town. Jeffrey Wright is Moon’s closest and only friend and Jason Isaacs is someone that is not to be messed with.

A Single Shot was adapted for the screen by Matthew F. Jones from his novel of the same name. I think Jones did a very admiral job with the script. Dave M. Rosenthal’s direction suits the material just fine. I was reminded of The Hunt directed by Thomas Vinterberg and Texas Killing Fields directed by Ami Mann in terms of tone and aesthetics. A Single Shot is a low budget film that doesn’t look cheap that relies purely on story, acting, and direction. I think the film is more than adequate and pulls off everything it intended. It won’t win any Oscars but it is entertaining and worth it for casting alone. Sam Rockwell gives it his all and he knows he had to carry the picture as lonely John Moon and I think he did a great job. I will emphasize that A Single Shot is a slow burn type of film, so be prepared to take your time. A Single Shot runs just under two hours.

 

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.com

Video 

A Single Shot is presented in 1080p, 2.35:1 widescreen. This print would have been reference if it weren’t for the filter that was used to darken things a bit more. It’s not crush but when certain scenes at night play out they tend to have a bit of murk to them. It was definitely not needed and was slightly distracting. Other than that, the image on the Blu-ray is stellar. Flesh tones appear natural and only appear drab when someone is either sick or dead. Color banding was not an issue as the color palette drifted from bright and bold to cold and muted. Colors were handled exceptionally well in the brighter daylight and farm scenes. Black crush was absent and I did not detect any instances of crush or contrast fluctuations. Sharpness levels were also kept in check.

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.com

Audio 

A Single Shot, at first glance, does not seem like the film that would warrant a reference rating for quality sound but that’s where you’re wrong. It’s the sound editing that gives it that edge. Dialogue is clean and crisp – folks speak with heavy southern-rural accents but the Blu-ray handles it very nicely. I never had to turn up the volume to hear someone speak. Certain sound effects like gunshots, truck engines starting, telephones ringing, etc., all had an extra level of depth that my speaker system reproduced quite amazingly. I got startled a couple of times with some sound cues that I was not expecting. The LFE channel doe get to shine here in a couple of scenes. A Single Shot sounds epic on Blu-ray.

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.com

Extras  

A Single Shot comes packed with just a couple of special features. These extras are a making-of featurette that contains behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew. The second special features interviews with Sam Rockwell and William H. Macy – these are a bit more in-depth than the ones in the making-of featurette. A theatrical trailer for the film rounds out the supplements package.

  • Making Of
  • Interviews
  • Trailer

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.com

Summary     

A Single Shot is a very nice film indeed – violent but entertaining.  It’s a tad grim and unsettling at times but everyone on that screen gives it their all. It’s obvious that this was Rockwell’s baby and he totally rocked the part as John Moon. Everyone else also brought their A-game to the table and delivered a pretty good product. The audio and video specs on the Blu-ray are stellar and I continue to dig that Well Go USA is pouring so much care into the tech-specs as they have been on previous releases. The supplements could have been beefed up a bit but overall the Blu-ray is recommended.

 

 

 

Order A Single Shot on Blu-ray!

A Single Shot - www.whysoblu.com

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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