BY ERIN TORRANCE
Confession: I don’t like going into movies blind. While it’s the exact opposite for me when it comes to my favourite TV shows—I don’t even want to hear whether the last episode of Breaking Bad was blow-your-brains-out good (I don’t have cable, so when it comes to TV, everything is a day late in my world)—I can’t go into a movie without at least knowing the plot and maybe its online rating.
So when it came time to see A Single Shot, I found some disappointing ratings despite the fact that the plot didn’t sound half bad.
As IMDB’s synopsis reads, “The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.” OK, a death pits a hunter (who likely shoots like a sniper) against a bunch of criminals; sounds alright. But really, a more accurate synopsis would be as follows:
When John Moon (Sam Rockwell), out deer hunting, accidentally shoots a woman (Ophelia Lovibond—she plays dead really well), he sets about concealing the corpse (with three charges for poaching, he clearly doesn’t want anyone to know that he was out hunting deer during non-deer-hunting season). But when he discovers her camp, he stumbles upon a boxful of money. Now thousands of dollars richer, Moon must fend off a ring of ex-cons who will do just about anything (though they’re really terrible at just about everything) to get that money back.
NOTE: From here on out, there are “spoilers” galore; but don’t worry, you’d probably guess them anyways.
Clearly, my version isn’t so succinct, but it’s accurate. Losing the money is what really pissed off the criminals, not the death of the woman—well, that irked the one guy, I guess. Even with three criminals attempting to terrorize him at every turn, it never felt like Moon was really all that close to getting hurt until he had his finger sliced off.
From the moment the weird phone calls and notes started coming in, I was convinced that while Moon was after Obadiah (Joe Anderson), he had it completely wrong because, well, my brain instantly thought that would be too obvious. But, alas, Obadiah was involved. Oh, and of course, the dark, greasy-looking guy in the diner whom we know we shouldn’t trust was, in fact, someone you shouldn’t trust.
The seeming relationship blooming between Moon and Ingrid was emotionless and awkward. The friendship between Moon and Simon was contrived, and it really didn’t seem like Moon felt all that betrayed by his friend of 20 years either. Finally, I couldn’t help but be annoyed at the ending. I won’t give this one away (hell, they don’t give much away either), but I just need to get one thing off my chest: if you’re weak and need to pull yourself out of a really deep hole, look to grab hold of something outside of said hole that is stable and can support your weight. At the very least, don’t try to climb up the side with the massive pile of loose dirt—I mean, are you a fucking idiot?
It should be obvious by now: I hated this film. The plot “twists” were weak and flimsy, the characters didn’t seem to have any real emotional connection, and the ending was terrible. But to end on a complimentary note: the death of the dog made me almost cry—almost.