Section: Discovery of America
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
United States, 2007
Dir.: Jeff Nichols
Newly deceased Cleaman Hayes has fathered seven children by two women, with a break for rehab and business success between families. The first three are so blood simple he never gave them proper names: Son is a fish hatchery worker convinced he's about to crack the code at the nearby casino; Kid is pondering marriage even though he has no truck and lives in a pup tent; and Boy spends most of his free time -- make that most of his time, period -- fiddling with his ancient van. The second batch, clearly the favorites of the late Hayes pere, are led by family man Cleaman and include hot-headed Mark and older teenagers Stephen and John. Unlike the first Hayes brood, they're trying to make a go of a local farm.
When Son spits on his father's casket, Mark later instigates a fight among the half brothers: Kid retaliates, with tragic results.
A point-blank buckshot blast of inarticulate American rage, played with the disarmingly placid inevitability of Greek tragedy, Shotgun Stories is a precisely modulated yet cumulatively forceful story of a rural family feud turned deadly… Read as a cautionary tale on the futility of revenge, Shotgun Stories is a low-key thriller with the requisite genre tension. ( Eddie Cockrell)
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