‘A Single Shot,’ a trigger-happy thriller

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Sam Rockwell stars as John Moon in the neo-thriller “A Single Shot,” opening in theaters today. (Courtesy of Tribeca Films)

Much like 2008’s “Winter’s Bone,” Sam Rockwell’s new character piece “A Single Shot” is set against the grit and grime of rural America.

Rockwell plays John Moon, a family man whose life is taken for a ride when, while hunting, he accidentally shoots and kills a woman caught up in crime. Either by shock or, regrettably, pleasure, Moon watches his accidental victim die.

When he finally leaves his post to investigate his killing, Moon finds a large box of money next to the woman’s lifeless body.

Money, that’s exactly what Moon needed.

With his newfound wealth, Moon quickly connects with Pitt, a lawyer played by William H. Macy, to divorce his wife Moira, played by Kelly Reilly.

In between divorce proceedings with his wife, Moon tries his hardest to cover up his murder. However, the miraculous money that Moon found is desperately sought after by a group of West Virginia criminals who are hell bent ­­on getting it back.

While the elements of a great story are weaved into “A Single Shot’s” plot, the execution of this story is somewhat flawed.

David Rosenthal, the film’s director, perfectly captures the noir-element of the criminal situation and masterfully crafts the West Virginian mise-en-scene but small directorial decisions let the plot slip into meandering territory.

However, with a cast that includes acting heavyweights like Rockwell, Oscar-winner Melissa Leo and William H. Macy, the plot’s sometimes neutral movement acts its way to a higher gear.

Rockwell is known for his role selection and often times takes obscure parts knowing that the story is character driven, the same can be said for his role in “A Single Shot.” Rockwell pulls off the West Virginian character quite well and not even once do you realize that Rockwell himself is a California native.

While I don’t think Rockwell will be receiving any Oscar buzz for the role, he did pick up the Best Actor Award at the 2013 Newport Film Festival for his performance. That’s almost the same thing, right?

In summation, “A Single Shot” is a neo-thriller with just enough meat on its bones to earn merit, but not enough to propel it to importance come awards season. “A Single Shot” opens today at AMC Grapevine.

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