Critic scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.
The suspense comes and goes, but A Single Shot always maintains a firm grip on its sad, deteriorating environment. Read full review
David M. Rosenthal's sturdy, nasty rural noir, based on Matthew F. Jones's novel, is so sharp and rusted through that, after taking it in, you'll likely need a tetanus shot. Read full review
The film charts no new territory but is terrifically cast and, like its source novel, long on atmosphere. Read full review
Content to faithfully hew to convention, A Single Shot rarely surprises, but its portrait of foolishness and fallibility, and its atmosphere of inevitable doom, remain sturdy and captivating. Read full review
A Single Shot never rises to the level of a great film like “Winter’s Bone,” which digs much deeper in its depiction of life in the hills among the desperate poor. But thanks largely to Rockwell, it’s not bad, either. Read full review
Its ongoing reveal of interconnected, rough-edged characters, as well as a tone that’s a twangy, noirish brew of the Coen brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, and Winter’s Bone, are ultimately what make the movie unsettling and absorbing. Read full review
Rockwell’s performance is impressively flinty, as is the rest of the cast (including William H. Macy delivering some twitchy character work), and the dialogue sparkles with brilliantly colorful mountain-man slang. Despite its byzantine narrative, the film remains never less than absorbing, as the walls slowly close in on this good-hearted but ultimately flawed protagonist. Read full review
By the end, Macy's presence is just one part of what makes A Single Shot recall the Coen brothers' "Fargo." That film's now-famous wood-chipper scene can seem strangely tame a decade and a half on, but it still has a lesson to teach: When you show violence in a story that's not really about violence, there'd better be more of a point than just making us squirm. Read full review
In lieu of suspense, Rosenthal relies on a mood of free-floating anxiety, enhanced by West Virginia (actually British Columbia) landscapes where the sun never shines. As one-note as the title suggests, A Single Shot misfires. Read full review
An odd mix of beautifully bleak atmosphere and hammily mannered performances, A Single Shot is simultaneously understated and overpowering. Read full review
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