Sam Rockwell suppresses his usual twitchiness to play a bearded, trucker-capped everyman, John Moon, in this backwoods crime drama that aspires to the chilly fatalism of Winter’s Bone or A Simple Plan but misses by a wide mark.
Neither bright nor lucky, John Moon has lost his livelihood and his wife and child when the family farm went into foreclosure. Then one day, while poaching deer near his trailer, he accidentally kills a runaway teen in the woods and finds a box of cash near her campsite.
Based on screenwriter Matthew F. Jones’s novel, A Single Shot is both predictable and outlandish. John’s first stop is to see a lawyer (William H. Macy, in a clownish plaid suit and bad toupee) whom he pays to prevent his divorce. Next he takes a wad of money to the home of his estranged wife (Kelly Reilly), where he discovers the babysitter in flagrante with a tattooed hillbilly (Joe Anderson).
Soon after, John finds himself the object of a hunt by ex-jailbird (Jason Isaacs) and his crew of lowlife cronies. Jeffrey Wright pops up in the film’s second half, long enough to deliver a woefully overacted drunken monologue, highlighting A Single Shot’s function as an unintentional cautionary tale of what happens when bad movies happen to good actors.