The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Well Go USA - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Jason Issacs, Joe Anderson, Ophellia Lovibond, Ted Levine, William H. Macy
Directed by: David M. Rosenthal
Music by: Alti Ovarsson
Written by: Matthew F. Jones based on his novel
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 14, 2014
When John Moon (Sam Rockwell) accidentally shoots a young woman and discovers a bag full of cash, the isolated hunter becomes the hunted. His struggle to conceal both the death and the money triggers a cascade of events and encounters that ultimately escalates into a battle for survival.
I am a Sam Rockwell fan and although I hadn’t previously heard of A single shot I looked forward to receiving it for review. The story focuses on John Moon, an unemployed mountain man, who is separated from his wife and son, and has seen his share of hard times. After finding the money his hope is that it will provide the opportunity for him to convince his wife, who works in town as a waitress, to return. Unfortunately the money has a past and isn’t a free lunch. It isn’t long before word spreads around town that John may have it which draws out those that have been seeking it. Before long John finds himself intertwined in spiraling events that threaten not only his life but those of his family. Looking over his shoulder the list of those he can trust has grown thin as are his chances of making it through this ordeal alive.
Based on the novel by Matthew F. Jones (who also wrote the screenplay) this is a dark neo-noir thriller that revolves around a small Appalachian mountain community, ill gotten gain and one man’s plight after a tragic accident/discovery. The unfolding storyline with its elements of mystery, violence and drama blend well within the context of the film’s bleak atmosphere but the deliberate pacing and nearly two hour runtime make it feel long. Conceptually speaking there is nothing here we haven’t seen before in both the character design and theme which makes it predictable. Several of the relationships aren’t fleshed out enough to correlate which disrupts the momentum when things begin to unravel. I couldn’t help but be left with a feeling of indifference especially when it came to the unveiling/outcome surrounding those around John.
As for John I found him to be sympathetic but only to a point which I think was purposeful and one of the script’s strong suits. I liked the cast, although I didn’t care for the terrible wig Jason Issacs’ was wearing. Sam Rockwell gives a typically strong performance and is capably supported by the rest of the cast. A single shot doesn’t truly deliver upon the potential in its cast or subject matter however it presents an interesting look at this side of America via an atmospheric and predictable gothic story that held my attention throughout.
The rating is for some strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
A single shot comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary colors appear satisfying while the film intentionally maintains a cooler overall palette that works well against the drab settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film’s inherently softer elements leave some wide angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. This wasn’t really a problem as there were few scenes that utilized low level material where this was consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts and thought this appeared to be a pristine quality encoding.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix does a decent job of creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to add solidity to sound effects and the film’s music score. I thought the presentation served the source material well and sounded fine.
- (HD) The making of A single shot – 26 minute documentary
- (HD) Interviews with Crew & Cast:
- David Rosenthal
- Eduard Grau - Cinematographer
- Sam Rockwell
- William H. Macy
- Jeffrey Wright
- Ted Levine
- Jason Issacs
- Kelly Reilly
- (HD) Trailer
Based on the novel by Matthew F. Jones A single shot is a dark neo-noir thriller that revolves around a small Appalachian mountain community, ill gotten gain and one man’s plight after a tragic accident/discovery. It’s a mildly entertaining but middling affair that gets swallowed up by its own atmosphere but includes a sterling performance from star Sam Rockwell. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring solid high definition audio/video and a serviceable supplemental package. This isn’t blind buy material but if the subject matter interests you it’s worth a rent.
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