The Shoot (2014/15)



Being a never was rock star must really suck. Not only can't you hitch your ride to some sort of "reunion tour" festival situation, but you can't even afford studio time to record a record in hopes of Perris Records (or worse) distributing it. That still doesn't stop thousands of musicians from reaching for that oiled up stripper pole of a brass ring. Tommy and Dougie are two such musicians, willing to make deals with nefarious characters under specious circumstances in the hope of getting that one big break. When one such character calls in their debt and threatens Tommy with some brutal retributions should he not be paid, Tommy and Dougie resort to some pretty extreme measures to make their benefactor whole.

Co-written and co-directed by husband and wife team John Adams (no, not the second president) and Toby Poser, The Shoot is a blueprint on how to use a location to enhance an indie films budget. Shot in the desert areas surrounding Southern California, the scenery and location are just as much a star of of the film as any of the actors are. Now that doesn't serve to diminish any of the actors contributions, most of the performances are just fine - pretty much what you would expect from an independent, low budget, feature.

Adams pulls triple duty serving not only, writer and producer but also as star (or co-star if you will) of the film. He is joined but Sam Rodd (no, it's not a porno name - but it should be) as Dougie, Tommys gullible, seemingly halfwit band mate who Tommy talks into joining him in his ill fated quest to rob a jewelery photo shoot. Rodd and Adams have good chemistry, Rodd in particular really selling his characters transformation from callow yes man to something a whole lot more sinister.

As an experience, The Shoot will not be for everyone. It borrows heavily from the Coen Brothers in it's approach and sensibilities. It sprinkles in a touch of Tarantino-esque dialogue (something that I feel is always under appreciated in Quentins films) throughout, soliciting more than a few smiles and even a couple of laughs along the way. That being said, if you are looking for a balls to the wall, shoot 'em up, action thriller i.e. Natural Born Killers, or a lost in the desert slasher like The Hills Have Eyes, then The Shoot might not be the film for you.

It is a quirky and clever film, but that doesn't mean it's not without flaws. Simply put the cast is too big. Secondary characters are abandoned for most of the third act while the main story nears its completion, only to be revisited in the denouement and met with a resounding "Oh yeah. I forgot about that person." The film is also very slow, perhaps deliberately slow, again following the Coen Brothers model. Unfortunately, the story doesn't really hold up as well as one would hope under the pressure of the films slow pacing.

Flaws aside, The Shoot is a pretty good little thriller. It's not going to revolutionize and genres, but it's certainly not the worst way to spend an hour and twenty minutes. You can look for The Shoot in cinemas later this year followed by DVD/VOD...you know the drill.

*** stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."
 

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