Shotgun Stories ★★★½

The names of the protagonists in this film -- Son, Boy, and Kid -- betray a certain simplicity that is part of the spirit of this story. The characters, each laconic, brooding, hyper-masculine on his own, also hide a sorrow within them. Much like, Manchester by the Sea, the characters in this film are largely unable to communicate, or break free from their long-held, constricting traditions.

The simplicity, or folksiness, of Americana captured in this film obscures the complexity of these men. Michael Shannon has a whole lifetime of emotions, experience and the weight of responsibility on his face in every shot of this film. The agitation and violence, hardly ever on screen, can be felt within him and his the other male characters.

Jeff Nichols has been impressive in almost every genre he has worked in so far. They all have his auteur-ist signature. And his partnership with Michael Shannon is one of my favorite current writer/director partnerships in flight.