A Single Shot

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A Single Shot
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David M. Rosenthal
Produced by
Screenplay by Matthew F. Jones
Based on A Single Shot
by Matthew F. Jones
Music by Atli Örvarsson
Cinematography Eduard Grau
Edited by Dan Robinson
  • A Single Shot Productions
  • Bron Studios
  • Demarest Films
  • Media House Capital
  • Unanimous Pictures
  • Unified Pictures
Release date
  • February 13, 2013 (2013-02-13) (Berlin International Film Festival)
  • September 20, 2013 (2013-09-20) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget N/A
Box office $18,642[1]

A Single Shot is a 2013 US American crime thriller film directed by David M. Rosenthal and written by Matthew F. Jones, based on his own novel of the same name. The film stars Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Ted Levine, Kelly Reilly and Jason Isaacs.


John Moon's wife recently took their son and left. Before his father died, his dad was unable to pay the mortgage on the farm, and it was sold. John is depressed and an emotional wreck. He lives in poverty in rural West Virginia, feeding himself by hunting deer. While stalking a deer with a shotgun, he accidentally shoots and kills a young woman. He then finds a box containing $100,000 in the abandoned van where she was hiding. He hides the girl's body in a shipping container. During the following days, he attempts to reconcile with his wife. He contacts a local attorney to try to negotiate for his wife and son's return home and leaves the attorney several hundred dollars, drawing the attorneys' attention. After John visits his wife in town at the diner, a stranger resents his glance at him and threatens John.

John visits his son at his wife's apartment and interrupts the babysitter having sex with a recently released convict who has returned home. Returning to his trailer, someone shoots and kills his dog. John suspects the ex-con has something to do with his dog's death. He enters the ex-con's motel room and is interrupted by the ex-con's return. He hides in the louvered closet. The stranger from outside the diner arrives at the hotel room and asks the ex-con if he's gotten the money back. The ex-con tells him that the girl who had the money has died and the stranger is furious. John sees him slit the ex-con's throat. The ex-con falls into the closet. He sees John but is unable to talk before he dies. John avoids detection and goes home. He finds someone has tossed his trailer, apparently looking for the money. The dead girl's body is on his bed with a note. His wife shows up and wants to come inside and get her clothing, but John refuses. John visits the attorney and threatens him with a pistol, trying to force him to reveal what he knows. All he learns is that his wife was concerned about where John got the money and wants to talk to John.

John returns to his trailer. A friendly local girl brings him something to eat, and while they are eating outside, the radio in the trailer starts playing loudly. John goes inside to investigate, carrying a M1911 .45 caliber pistol. He hears the girl scream outside, and returns to find her held captive by the stranger. John is forced to discard his pistol and knife. The stranger asks John where the money is. John says he buried it nearby. The stranger tells him to go get it, but first cuts off John's right index finger and thumb, to be sure he can't use a weapon. John goes to his truck and gets a scoped rifle. Despite his wounds, he successfully kills the stranger. He takes the girl to town and returns to the trailer and a shed outside, which contains a freezer and the dead girl's body. He drags her body up the hill and digs a hole to bury her. Weakened by loss of blood, he's unable to get out of the hole.



Filming began in February 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia.[3] The film was released on September 20, 2013, and distributed in the United States by Tribeca Film.[4]


A Single Shot received mixed reviews and has a rating of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 43 reviews with an average rating of 5.7 out of 10. The consensus states "It has a bleak sense of atmosphere and a terrific performance by Sam Rockwell, but A Single Shot is undercut by its predictable story and slow pace."[5] The film also has a score of 53 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 16 reviews.[6]


The music for A Single Shot was written by Icelandic-born composer Atli Örvarsson whose music is strongly rooted in 20th century modernism. The score was recorded with the London Metropolitan Orchestra. The soundtrack has been released digitally and on CD by MovieScore Media / Kronos Records. One of the special things about the soundtrack is that the shorter cues have been organized into movements, thus creating a program that sounds very much like a concert piece.

All music composed by Atli Örvarsson.

A Single Shot: Original Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "A Single Shot" 1:06
2. "Opening" 3:20
3. "Remembering" 4:20
4. "The John Moon Variations: Movement 1 – The Shot" 7:00
5. "The John Moon Variations: Movement 2 – Late Night Call" 8:30
6. "The John Moon Variations: Movement 3 – Showdown" 9:45
7. "Finale" 8:26
Total length: 42:27


  1. ^ "A Single Shot". boxofficemojo.com. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "A Single Shot Official Site". 
  3. ^ "A Single Shot – first look review". guardian.co.uk. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Sam Rockwell’s ‘A Single Shot’ Gets U.S. Distribution". variety.com. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "A Single Shot". 20 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "A Single Shot". 

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