×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Shot’

This Los Angeles-set drama explores the consequences when a gun accidentally goes off and hits an innocent bystander.

Director:
Jeremy Kagen
With:
Noah Wyle, Sharon Leal, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4323568/

Jeremy Kagan’s gun-control drama “Shot” opens with a bullet piercing a man’s back. There’s a problem. The bang should be louder. So sound mixer Mark (Noah Wyle) hits rewind, and as the squib rushes back inside the actor’s cowboy costume, he cranks up the bass. That’s how ammo blasts, thinks Mark. But in a few hours, a stray shot will teach him that real-life gunfire is nothing like the movies. (For one, the pop! sounds more hollow.)

Kagan’s intimate, split-screen study of the after effects of violence tracks both the victim and the shooter, a guilt-ridden teen named Miguel (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.). The kid’s story is too clichéd to let “Shot” sell itself as emotional realism, but 2nd Amendment advocates arming themselves against a Hollywood screed will be relieved that the film avoids political activism to focus on trauma and recovery.

The split-screen starts when Miguel, a bullied boy whose sole social sin appears to be reading cooking magazines, accidentally fires his cousin’s pistol. The bullet zips across Silver Lake Blvd. and straight into Mark’s chest as he wheedles his ex-wife Phoebe (Sharon Leal) for a second chance. The divided image is a jolt — Kagan seems inspired by Brian De Palma’s “Blow Out,” which also starred a sound tech startled by actual blood — but what’s onscreen is oddly, deliberately banal. Medics move in, cart Mark away and calmly mutter instructions about immobilizing his neck, probing his wound and inflating his lungs.

Kagan (“The Journey of Natty Gann”) and screenwriters Anneke Campbell and Will Lamborn draw out the gunshot’s effects in real time. (It takes a hospital clerk exactly 29 minutes to ask about Mark’s health insurance, the closest thing to a joke “Shot” allows.) While “ER” fans might thrill to see Wyle back in an emergency room after 15 years of playing Dr. John Carter — and this hospital’s staff is just as photogenic — the stand-out in this sequence is veteran actor Xander Berkeley as the dispassionate, but confident lead physician, and an extended cameo from Malcolm-Jamal Warner playing an ambulance physician who calmly vows that Mark won’t die on his watch.

Still, the gimmick does little for Lendeborg’s arc as a panicky kid trying to figure out his best move. He spends much of the film on the bus, or walking up endless flights of Echo Park’s outdoor stairs. Kagan has good intentions for the character — he’s using Miguel to argue that gun crimes aren’t as simple as black and white, or as Berkeley’s casually bigoted doctor snipes, Latino gang-bangers versus white bystanders. “Shot” aims straight at the idea that good people do harm by accident, and the irony that the first thing Mark wants to do when he gets home is buy a gun. Still, Kagan’s efforts to represent the real Los Angeles make him stumble straight into stereotypes, like the way Miguel and his mom (Cher Ferreyra) continually talk about eating carnitas, quesadillas and jalapeños, and every minor character is forced to tongue-tangle with a clunkers like, “We’re gonna go see Raoul and the vatos,” pronounced to rhyme with “lactose.”

The larger issue is that the dual images don’t fit together in any way, except for Mark and Miguel’s shared fear that their lives are over. To “Shot’s” credit, the film doesn’t believe in happy endings — at least, not before both men, and Leal’s wide-eyed wife, force us to recognize the painful steps of their climb back to normalcy: the anti-anxiety meds, the support groups, the nightmares, the resentments and the regrets. In action, it’s a little dull, but the concept is bracingly honest. Audiences have plenty of action options like Mark’s gruesome Westerns — the bloodthirsty deserve to watch at least one movie about the bullets that can’t be rewound.

Film Review: 'Shot'

Reviewed online, Los Angeles, Sept. 20, 2017. Running time: 89 MIN.

Production: A Paladin release of an AC Transformative Media, Great Point Media presentation. Producers: Dave O'Brien, Josh Siegel, Jeremy Kagan. Executive producers: Jonathan kagan, Robert Halmi Jr. Jerry Offsay.

Crew: Director: Jeremy Kagan. Screenplay: Will Lamborn, Anneke Campbell. Camera (color, widescreen): Jacek Laskus. Editor: Norman Hollyn. Music: Bruce Broughton.

With: Noah Wyle, Sharon Leal, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

More Film

  • Bob Iger arrives at the Oscars,

    Bob Iger: 'Challenging Work of Uniting Our Businesses' Lies Ahead for Disney

    Bob Iger marked the historic occasion of Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox with a lengthy memo to staffers that was candid about the challenges of the massive integration of people and cultures that lies ahead for the media giant. “I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us, that closing [...]

  • EMMA APPLETON as FEEF SYMONDS

    'Traitors' Producer 42 Hires Literary Manager Eugenie Furniss

    Eugenie Furniss is joining London- and Los Angeles-based management and production company 42 as literary manager, it was announced Wednesday. The company’s slate include movie “Ironbark,” a Cold War thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and TV series “Traitors,” a spy thriller coming to Netflix in the U.S. at the end of the month. Furniss joins 42 [...]

  • Brad Pitt Leonardo DiCaprio Once Upon

    Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Trailer Drops

    The first look at “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is finally here, and Quentin Tarantino is taking audiences back to the height of hippie Hollywood. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, the footage features a montage of Tinseltown in the late 1960s. The duo play Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, a washed-up actor and [...]

  • One-Cut-Of-The-Dead-Review

    Japanese Sleeper Hit ‘One Cut of the Dead’ Heads for English Remake (EXCLUSIVE)

    “One Cut of the Dead,” a micro-budget horror film that last year defied the odds to become one of the biggest hits of the year in Japan, is headed for an English-language remake. Patrick Cunningham, a Japan-based American producer whose credits include “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Starlet,” is behind the venture. The original film, [...]

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content