Shotgun Stories (12A)

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The Independent Culture

This spare, meditative drama examines the slow-acting poison of revenge on two sets of half-brothers. Michael Shannon plays Son Hayes, who bears the physical and emotional scars of protecting his two younger brothers – Kid and Boy – after their drunk father left them years ago to be raised by a "hateful woman". Now the father is dead, and when Son turns up at his funeral to deliver a less than obliging epitaph to his second family, a tragedy of retribution is set in train.

Jeff Nichols' feature debut catches a potent sense of stalled lives and stale houses as it drifts about a blue-collar nowhere town in Arkansas. The cumulative effect of long-term estrangement and anger is also finely observed, and the performances, particularly Shannon's, are out of the top drawer.

Watch the Shotgun Stories trailer