Shotgun Stories

March 26th, 2008


Shotgun Stories

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Still of Michael Shannon in Shotgun StoriesStill of Michael Shannon in Shotgun StoriesShotgun StoriesStill of Michael Shannon in Shotgun Stories

Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father...

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 7.2/10 (2,483 voted)

Critic's Score: 76/100

Director: Jeff Nichols

Stars: Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs

Shotgun Stories tracks a feud that erupts between two sets of half brothers following the death of their father. Set against the cotton fields and back roads of Southeast Arkansas, these brothers discover the lengths to which each will go to protect their family.

Michael Shannon - Son Hayes
Douglas Ligon - Boy Hayes
Barlow Jacobs - Kid Hayes
Natalie Canerday - Nicole
Glenda Pannell - Annie Hayes
Lynnsee Provence - Stephen Hayes
Michael Abbott Jr. - Cleaman Hayes
Coley Canpany - Cheryl
Lance Christopher - Fish Farm Worker
Will Hahn - Farm Hand
Gary Hawkins - J.J.
Cole Hendrixson - Carter
Mark W. Johnson - Amos
Tom Kagy - Red
Vivian Morrison Norman - Melissa


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 26 March 2008

Filming Locations: England, Arkansas, USA

Opening Weekend: $4,553 (USA) (16 December 2007) (1 Screen)

Gross: $45,661 (USA) (13 July 2008)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The majority of the principal photography took place in 2004.

User Review

Powerful film-making about the futility of hostility

Rating: 9/10

This is a chilling film made with minimal resources that grabs you by the jugular and doesn't let go - a family tragedy that reeks of Shakespeare. A father has died leaving two sets of sons behind (by different mothers). The older sons were abandoned when young and when they turn up at the funeral held by the younger sons, old hostilities surface. Much of the narrative unfolds without explicit explanation, and often with minimal dialogue. We get into the minds of the various protagonists largely by their actions.

Set in the cotton-growing region of Arkansas, it gives a view of Americans struggling in semi-rural life. The film cast is mostly with unknown actors and this is a strength that adds a level of realism to a film. While there is a sense of dreaded inevitability throughout, there is also plenty of room for the unexpected, but not in a contrived Hollywood manner. The film is both very well written and impeccably directed. Remarkably, this is a directorial debut by Jeff Nichols who also wrote and produced the film. He is definitely a talent to watch.

As a slight negative, I don't know if it was the film or the venue, but the visuals and sound didn't seem quite up to scratch. This bothered me slightly at the start, but once the story got into gear (pretty early in the piece), it was barely noticeable. I found the music enjoyable, adding ambiance without being in your face.

I saw Shotgun Stories at the Melbourne International Film Festival.


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