Shotgun Stories ★★★★★

I had seen a few of Jeff Nichols' films before ("Take Shelter", "Mud") and was impressed, so I circled back to his debut "Shotgun Stories" from 2007. Powerful film about the corrosive effects of revenge set in rural Arkansas. The plot is about two feuding families of brothers. Each group had the same father but he abandoned one family to form another once he became sober and Christian. The tension begins at the father's funeral and builds from there.

Many reviewers (both critics and film lovers) compare this film to a Greek tragedy, and the comparison is apt. It also is a commentary on the hardscrabble lives of the working poor in America's heartland. The photograpy is stunning, as is the direction. Michael Shannon is the only big name star in this project but the other performers do a remarkable job. A small but quite effective plot device is the role that the chldren in each family play to remind the warring adults of the impact of their violent feud. A very impressive film, and it makes me want to see the other films that Nichols has directed.

I saw this as a rental through Netflix.