Directed by Jeff Nichols
USA 2007


Jeff Nichols' "Shotgun Stories" is shaped and told like a revenge tragedy, but it offers an unexpected choice: The hero of the film does not believe the future is doomed by the past. If it were, most of the key characters would be dead by the end, an outcome that seems almost inevitable. Here is a tense and sorrowful film where common sense struggles with blood lust.


This film has literally been saved by the festival circuit. After being rejected by major distributors, it found a home in smaller festivals, where word of mouth propelled it into its current wider release. It has qualities that may not come out in a trailer or in an ad but sink in when you have the experience of seeing it. Few films are so observant about how we relate with one another. Few are as sympathetic.

"Shotgun Stories" is as spare as the landscape. Classical drama comes condensed to a harshness: "You raised us to hate those boys, and we do. And now it's come to this." In a movie where so much violence obviously occurs, we see very little of it. Nichols sidesteps the problem of the intrinsic interest of violence by looking away from it and focusing on its effect. We don't get to know the second family very well, but Son, Kid and Boy are closed up within their melancholy. Although some orange flowers and gentle music try to do their work at the end, we can only hope Son finds the life he desires for his own son.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at The Chicago Sun Times located HERE


Theatrical Release: February 4th, 2007 - Berlin International Film Festival

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DVD Review: Liberation - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Liberation - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:30:03 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.86 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Liberation

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary with director Jeff Nichols
• Isolated Score
• Production Stills
• Trailers

DVD Release Date: July 1st, 200
Keep Case
Chapters: 18



This is a dual-layered, anamorphic but interlaced (see combing in last capture) transfer from Indie label Liberation Entertainment. Great film, disguising-ly marketed as a Macon County Line replica - but this is the real deal folks. It is produced by David Gordon Green of George Washington fame. Director Nichols seems to hit all the right notes and this little gem, travelling the festival circuit from Berlin to Cannes and Sydney to London - garnered a few wins on its trek.   

The DVD has typical SD limitations in color and detail but it is not overly poor and supports a decent home theater presentation. Contrast is at the weak end but again not terribly distracting. Audio choices include a fairly sedate 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. There are no subtitles offered.

Supplements include a decent commentary by Nichols - it really seemed like the production was family affair and no pretense in the creation. He talks about when they ran out of money and some interesting anecdotes. He's honest and laid back. The effort is very much appreciated. The disc offers the isolated score composed and performed by the band Lucero. There are some production stills and trailers. No liner notes.

I'm definitely recommending this film and only wish the transfer was a bit more 'dynamic' but we have to give some leeway for its Indie roots. The film was a very pleasant surprise and at under $20 you may consider it quite the bargain.  

Gary W. Tooze


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