Sunday, 15 September 2013

Shotgun Stories

I recently happened to check out the works of Jeff Nichols. He has made three films so far – Shotgun Stories (2007), Take Shelter (2011) and Mud (2012) and I loved all of them. It seems that he is here to make his mark and stay for a long time.

Here in this post I would like to cover Shotgun Stories (2007) which was written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Shotgun Stories stars
Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs and others. Its the story of feud between two sets of half brothers after the demise of their father. 

The background of the story can be described through the angle of Mr. Hayes (the father, whom we never see in the film). Mr. Hayes had married twice. He had three kids from his first wife. He never cared about his first wife and his children through her. 

Meanwhile he had also married another woman and had four children through her. Over the course of time he abandoned his first wife and three children. The three children by the first wife - Son, Boy and Kid are the ones around whom the film centers.

Son Hayes is married to Annie and has a child Carter. He is a normal man except for his addiction to gambling. Because of this his wife leaves along with their son and now Son is alone. He asks his brothers, Boy Hayes, a basketball coach and Kid Hayes to move in his house.

One night they are visited by their mother who tells them that their father is dead. Son Hayes and his brothers go to attend the funeral. Present at the funeral is the second family of Mr. Hayes - his second wife and the other four children - Michael, Mark, Stephen and John.  

At the funeral, Son Hayes can't control himself when everyone around is praising the late Mr. Hayes while completely neglecting the fact that he had abandoned and left his first family on streets. So Son speaks some very harsh words and spits on the grave. Mark Hayes, the more violent in the second family retorts to physical measures. Although the dispute is broken by others, it is clear that a war has started.

From left to right : Son, Kid and Boy Hayes.
The film goes ahead with the war. It also deals with the costs that each of the family has to pay for their actions. 

Jeff's Nichols' direction is amazing. It is hard to accept that this is his first feature film. You see his brilliance in almost every frame and with every dialogue that he has written . Along with that one has to applaud the makers for their perfect casting. Everyone on screen does a perfect job and leaves you no space to complain or get bored.

It feels good to know that the film had got its due appreciation. Late film critic Roger Ebert named it as one of the best films of the year 2008. Bill White of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named it as the best film of the year 2008. Philip Martin of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and  David Edelstein of New York magazine named it 3rd and the 8th best film of 2008 respectively. The film currently holds 91% fresh ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

1 comment:

  1. probably will watch it later this week , tks for the review :