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Shotgun Stories

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Shotgun Stories tracks a blood feud between two sets of half brothers in the cotton fielded back roads of Southeast Arkansas. This auspicious directorial debut by Jeff Nichols features a strong lead performance by Michael Shannon (Bug) and has been collecting a litany of awards and nominations since debuting at the Berlin Film Festival -including one for Best Picture at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Natalie Canerday, Barlow Jacobs, Jr. Michael Abbott
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Liberation Ent
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016MJ6I8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,380 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shotgun Stories" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve Kuehl VINE VOICE on June 29, 2008
Format: DVD
First-time director Jeff Nichols managed to create this amazing minimalist film on a shoestring budget. I was impressed with how so much was told but at times hardly anything was happening. A worthy independent with a big-budget production feel to it.

The cast was all recruited from nearby regions, including Michael Shannon, who gave a stellar performance as the lead brother. He is one of those actors where so much is said just by their minimal facial expressions. There are only a couple of familiar faces in the cast, otherwise this was an independent film all the way, but you would not know with the excellent acting by everyone.

The film takes place (and is filmed) in Arkansas, including areas in and around Keo, England and Little Rock. My HD comment goes to the massive amounts of landscapes and topography that are shown throughout the film. The widescreen ratio beautifully displayed rural Arkansas farms, sunsets, and small town decay; the best I have see in a southern movie in years. I would love to see this artwork in Blu.

The story is about three brothers living a simple existence, two work at a fish farm while the third moonlights as part-time teacher. Their bland lives are scattered with normal wants, including one who wants to get married, another wants to maintain a relationship with his son while dealing with his gambling and familial separations, and the last brother just ekes out a living from his van while coaching middle school kids in basketball. Their lives are shattered with violence when their estranged father dies and they decide to attend his funeral. A feud erupts between the dad's newer family and theirs as they all try to cope with their spite and hatred of each other.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Flickhead on July 1, 2008
Format: DVD
Indie Wire has been all abuzz with recent comments by former Miramax president Mark Gill that the "Sky is falling" on the American Indie film scene. "Shotgun Stories" offers evidence to the contrary. It's a real film, with real human emotion, with believable characters, story and setting. Nothing rings false. That is so monumentally rare in global cinema that it makes me proud that the film is American. And this is no flag-waiver fare. As a matter of fact it is politically opinionless. The concerns of a small inter-familial war can most definitely be symbolic of certain recent larger conflicts, but only on a universal level, in that all violence escalates from a certain point, and that start when viewed in hindsight is usually petty, but the damage unrepairable.
The camera work is marvelous, the cast led by Michael Shannon is impeccable, and film is quietly moving. It's a true throwback to the maverick 1970s. The DVD even has the Lucero score on an isolated track, which I've let run in the background a few times while tending to household chores. I didn't get to catch this in theaters, and I really wish I had. Thank god for DVD.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ICUUCME on July 6, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a surprisingly good independent film.
As if hyper-transported into the rural southeast and placed smack dab into the porch of the Hayes brothers; Son, Kid, and Boy. Thusly named by an abusive alcoholic father who abandons them at an early age and finds Jesus. Juxtaposed, a hateful mother bred three hateful men. Each of which provide the audience with a unique and destitute existence in some ways cocoon by an oldest brother Son. There is a strange brew of co-dependence between them.

The crux of the film involves the after effects of a conflict between half brothers (the aforementioned Hayes brothers and a latter set of Hayes brothers established after the father manages to marry again).
Uninvited, Son, Kid, and Boy arrive in everyday attire contrasting the row of white shirts and ties adorned by another four Hayes brothers. Son, presumably the oldest Hayes brother, ask to speak. Widow Hayes grants permission amidst obvious tensions between both sets of brothers.... As if given a hatchet for scalping, Son lets out 30+ years or so of demons and then spits on his father's casket... This event provides the seed for the Hayes and Hayes feud which for all practical purposes was part of a prophecy...

Make no mistake the feeling of a documentary in England Arkansas. Here is time to examine the surroundings, and perhaps time to reflect on familiar footpaths that some viewers experienced in their own life. The landscape and setting are so "as a matter of fact" and real. Just the right amounts of music, surroundings, and quietness to capture the monotone and depressing attributes of a southern small town without distracting from the story line or personal interactions.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ishmael on May 20, 2009
Format: DVD
I watched this film after reading Roger Ebert's review. I was also interested because I really like David Gordon Green's work (producer) as well. It was even better than I expected. The director has a wonderful classical style that lets the action unfold in a natural way and often in real time. Instead of using frenzied handheld work and manic editing, he lets the most violent moments unfold offscreen and focuses instead on the consequences of violence. I loved the time the characters spent looking off into space and brooding and I loved the way they inhabited an unconstrained moral universe that seemed to predate the civil war.
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