Shotgun Stories Review

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        I never thought the day would come in which I watched a Jeff Nichols film and a Max Landis wack-fest side by side and ended up enjoying Landis’s project more. Shotgun Stories was Nichols’s first film, a slow-burn indie film that was to harness and delve deep into the amassed hatred that two families had for each other in the South.  Except, even though it presents an impressive templet of emotions I can’t say I enjoyed this dull experience full rich yet un-tapped characters, lots of cutting away, and a very frustratingly slow pace. I must admit, the performances in this film were impressive, especially Michael Shannon and the actors who play his brothers, in that aspect of the film Nichols’s really captured true brotherly chemistry. Nichols’s also lightly touched the issue of nature vs. nurture in a very subtle way which though I felt was partially left un-explored once I had concluded the film I’ve now realized is actually some sort of through-line for the film itself since the decisions each character makes serves as a contradiction or assessment for the on going debate. Lastly, something I love about Nichols’s film that you can trace back to very beginning is how he marks and defines characters so expressively through their clothing or physical traits, whether that’s Son and the bullet bruises on his back, Shampoo and the bandages all over his body attributed to his reckless nature or simply the way he shadows the Jaeden Lieberher under those otherworldly goggles in Midnight Special.  But, thats as far as the positives in this film goes, though some might consider that enough you still need to get rid of that engulfing sense of boredom that extends alongside the film’s runtime. Plus, having your theme down doesn’t guarantee you a success if you keep hinting at a plot that really isn’t going anywhere. Instead of harnessing the aggressive feud between the two families, Shotgun Stories dissolves into a myriad of sudden, boring confrontations between the two families that never go anywhere and are completely deflated by the end of the film. Aiming high and ending low, I cannot say Shotgun Stories is a failure because the acting was great and many aspects of it proved promising, yet by the middle point of film I was spelling out my name with the pretzels I was eating , therefore  Shotgun Stories get a 42 out of 100 from me.

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