'Shotgun Stories' among the best of the year say famous critics | Rock Candy

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Shotgun Stories' among the best of the year say famous critics

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 1:27 PM

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After picking up all kinds of acclaim in the festival circuit and again when it gained wide (-ish) release early this year, "Shotgun Stories," the feature film debut of Little Rock native Jeff Nichols, is once again picking up accolades. This time on the year end lists of the two of the most influential critics in the biz, Roger Ebert and David Edelstein.

Here's what Ebert said:

You'll have to search for it, but worth it. In a "dead-ass town," three brothers find themselves in a feud with their four half-brothers. It's told like a revenge tragedy, but the hero doesn't believe the future is written by the past. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, it avoids the obvious and shows a deep understanding of the lives and minds of ordinary young people in a skirmish of the class war. The dialogue rings true, the camera is deeply observant. The film was the audience favorite at Ebertfest 2008.

And Edelstein, who ranks "Shotgun" at eight in his list of ten:

Few saw Jeff Nichols’s mournful tragedy (starring Michael Shannon) in which two sets of Arkansas brothers who share a father begin a deadly feud. It’s set against a landscape of isolated farms and dilapidated main streets, and the rhythms are languid. But the lines that pop out of these stuporous characters’ mouths have the bitter tang of real life. The movie makes you empathize with the rage that drives these men to violence—but also shows how manly action weakens them, wipes out their individuality, and turns them into automatons.

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