“I don’t want a divorce Simon. I want my family back,” John Moon
What a cast, what a disappointment. Maybe the projection was off, but the look was murky, and not in a Darius Khondji director of photography kind of way (SE7EN, DELICATESSEN). After an age, the lighting suddenly shifted, brightening, while not seeming to reflect any plot element changes. Not ideal conditions, but it’s the story letting us down.
Menacing music gets us started. The awesome Sam Rockwell. His bedraggled John Moon is getting ready to go hunting. Out in the uninviting woods he fires at a deer, keeps missing. Stops cold after he realises he accidentally kills a woman. Deciding against calling the authorities, he attempts to cover up the accident, hiding the body in a quarry. Not a bad man, one we later find out has little choice if he wants to avoid lengthy incarceration. Moon’s actions are not very logical, and that goes for most of the characters. John places the body in a large disused container, goes through her things, finds a massive wad of cash, and takes it. Among her belongings is a link to a man called Waylon (Jason Isaacs in psycho mode – a mode I particularly like to watch him stretch out in, see Lucius ‘HARRY POTTER’ Malfoy and GREEN ZONE).
Obviously, any audience member who has seen A SIMPLE PLAN knows things are not going to pan out chirpily. And that brilliant morality tale from Sam Raimi and Scott B. Smith hangs over this movie, a shadow cast that A SINGLE SHOT never emerges. Obviously, don’t even think about comparing to NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.
Fallen on hard times, matters are made worse for John, as his wife Moira (Kelly Reilly) wants a divorce and custody of their baby. Moon hires a local lawyer Daggert Pitt (William H. Macy), complete with acting-school hillbilly accent, which everyone has a go at. I wonder if the cast had a competition to liven up the shoot, to see whose vocals could be the most hokey? If I were to decide the winner, the prize would have to go to (the usually brilliant) Jeffrey Wright’s best bud, Simon, with an extra mention for barely being understandable.
The large stash of money has drawn unsavouries vying for it, and it turns out those near Moon are hardly angels. Add in a belated romantic element, a ludicrous ending, a laughable coda, and one has to wonder what drew this lustrous cast. Rockwell-Macy-Wright-Reilly-Isaacs. Manslaughter thriller. Should’ve been a home run.