A Single Shot (Blu-ray)

March 7, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

After John Moon (Sam Rockwell) finds a large sum of money, he starts to get strange, threatening phone calls. We’ve seen movies like this before, but the difference here is that he also shot and killed a woman by mistake before he stumbled onto the money. The woman is killed by John when he’s out hunting deer and fires at her by mistake. This element adds a bit of tension to the film that’s a little unusual for this type of film. It’s rare that we find the main character in these types of films guilty of something other than simply taking the money. Moon is separated from his family and is trying to mend things so this added stress is clearly not something he needs. Of course, he could’ve done the right thing, but that’s the power of money, not to mention that there’d be no movie. Rockwell is a strong leading man, but the film has plenty of big name stars including: William H. Macy (with a hideous hairpiece), Ted Levine, Jeffrey Wright, Jason Isaacs to name a few. Melissa Leo supposedly had a role that was ultimately cut from the final film. None of her scenes appear on this disc, sadly. The backwater setting also adds some tension to the film, adding a level of isolation to the whole thing.

As I watched this film I was reminded of some of the Coen Brothers work, mainly Fargo and No Country for Old Men. I certainly wouldn’t hold this film up to the high status as those two films, but it’s a worthy entry. I was involved with the story and despite a few slow spots, it held my interest overall. I did have issues with some of the accents in this film. Subtitles certainly helped, but they were off a bit. Sometimes the subtitles would show up for dialogue not yet spoken, but it was only off by a few seconds so it didn’t create a huge problem, but I definitely noticed it. While I enjoyed much of the film I do think that a better director and tighter script would’ve improved things a bit. I mentioned the Coen Brothers and I wonder how they would’ve handled this material. I could see them infusing it with some of their dark humor, among other things. I also didn’t care for the ending. I won’t spoil it here, but I feel a better conclusion could’ve been reached. Still, there are enough strong elements here to warrant a look. There are plenty of tense moments and the cast helps elevate the material as well. It’s worth watching.

Video: How’s it look?

The transfer (2.40:1, AVC encoded) is fine, but darker than I’m used to. I realize this is simply how it was shot, but it may take some by surprise at first. It did take me a while to get used to. There just seems to be a darker hue to the whole image. The setting of this film does work well in HD though and there are plenty of details throughout this transfer that are heightened in HD. The print used is flawless and there are plenty of strong, accurate flesh tones. So overall this is a solid transfer, but just expect it to be a bit darker than what you’re probably used to and you should feel pleased too.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is strong as well. There are some scenes with no dialogue, but plenty of background noise, mostly from the woodsy setting. One scene startled me when the John Moon character receives one of the many mysterious phone calls. There’s a lot of front channel activity, but the rear channels do get some usage here as well. The score also adds a nice touch to the track and lines remained clear throughout the track. My sub-woofer got a good workout through a few scenes. This track suits the film well.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Making of (26:19) – Is better than most of these behind the scenes usually are and has plenty of insights from the cast and crew. It’s a bit too self-congratulatory at times, but there’s also more than enough information here.
  • Interviews – There are two separate interview sections here. One with Sam Rockwell and the other is with William H. Macy. Rockwell has a cold here, but still provides useful information. He mentions working with Melissa Leo, but her scenes were cut and don’t appear here.
  • Previews – These can only be skipped via the fast forward button. You can’t skip them directly.

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