shotgun stories [film review]

Acoustic melancholy drenches a rural Southern town. Fishing in a flat green world, water spread out everywhere. Open skies. A slow train passes through downtown. What it’s like to be trapped in a town for life. Yellow light and dogs and decaying industry.

A dead father. A funeral (“I said some things”). Redeemed but not by those left behind.

A walked-out wife. A pair of brothers. Acoustic melancholy. Clouded sky over water. Shirtless males netting fish. The feeling you get inside your chest, like a strangling but in an almost good way. Does beauty go unignored.

“What you doing…”

They set up the window unit on the picnic table to test it out. Run the extension cord out from the house. It works, and they sit there, feeling the cool air on their faces.

“It’s not the gambling. She just wants me to stop screwing around.”

One brother living in a van down by the river.

A young son. A blood feud. Two families, one father. Brother to brother.

“Are we all right?” “Yeah.”

“A lifetime is a long time, just for two people.”

“Your brother’s dead.”

Sorrow will always bring us together. She climbs in bed with him. Is it so often how we try to erase our pain, with new pain…

The pavement is hot. And yet I sit on it and I wait for you. I throw away my cards for you.

“I didn’t know they were there.”

“You raised us to hate those boys. And now it’s come to this.”

Silence.

A tent is something more than a tent after the unchangeable happens.

“Why is this happening?”

Cotton fields, cotton fields. They’re gonna crucify you, in those old cotton fields back home.

“Son’s all I have now. I just want to protect my brother.”

“I’m gonna put an end to it.”

[ominous strings fade to the upward lilt of the guitar]

acoustic melancholy

and the light falls across the porch. and the light falls over what’s left.

there are songs to tell us every way we feel…

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5 Comments

  1. beautiful writing.

    Reply
  2. This film review is sparse but poetical and poignant. Really top notch, set the tone, mood and then leave a lot up to reader. I’m surprised I’ve never seen this, got to watch this now. I’m curious is the dialogue your own take on the film or are they direct quotes. I like those last two lines. Very powerful and thought provoking. Cheers.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Taidgh. I’m not very well-versed in cinema so tend to prefer the oblique approach to reviewing films, based on feelings and impressions. Anything in quotes is direct from the film. I took notes as I watched, which I don’t usually do. But I was in a strange mood and the film drew me in. Michael Shannon, who plays the main character, is a relatively new favorite of mine. Take Shelter is a more recent one of his that I really liked.

      Reply
      • Well, I liked your review, quite a unique way to review a film I think. I would be interested in a review of Take Shelter. Michael Shannon is one of my favourites he’s quite good in the excellent series Boardwalk Empire.

        Reply

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