Without Michael Shannon holding down Shotgun Stories with his glowering presence, the whole affair would practically blow right by without leaving much hint of its passing. The film hangs about in the quiet streets of and empty spaces surrounding a small Arkansas town where an ugly divorce has set two families at war with each other. At the start, both sides seem part ready to get on with their lives and part unable to, just aching for the leash to be let off. Although there’s violence and tragedy deeply etched into the landscape here, debut writer/director Jeff Nichols’ penchant for minimal acting and general quietude puts a damper on the proceedings without bringing much new to an old story.
Shotgun Stories is in limited release now. You can read the full review at Film Journal International.