Follow TV Tropes


Film / Shotgun Stories

Go To

A 2007 America drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols that deals with the feud of two sets of half-brothers (Michael Shannon, Douglas Ligon, Barlow Jacobs, Lynnsee Provence, Michael Abbott Jr, and Travis Smith) in rural Arkansas.

The movie co-stars Natalie Canerday, G Alan Wilkins, Coley Campany, and Cole Hendrixson.

It was released on February 14, 2007.

Tropes for the film:

  • Abusive Parents: Aside from Son, Boy, and Kid's father being a drunk, it's also implied that their mother who he abandoned them to wasn't much better.
  • Alliterative Title: Shotgun Stories.
  • Big Fun: Boy is one of the paunchier characters in the movie, is more easygoing than his brothers, and coaches basketball for little kids.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: After his brother is killed, Son confronts his mother about how her hatred of their father and his family led to the feud:
    "You raised us to hate those boys, and we do, and now it's come to this."
  • Cycle of Revenge: It is about two feuding sets of half-brothers. The older set were born when their shared father was an abusive alcoholic. They crash his funeral and denounce him as an evil man, which enrages the newer family he made after reforming. The second set of brothers antagonize the first set in vengeance, triggering a cycle of revenge.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The film is centered around three impoverished brothers living in rural Arkansas called Son, Boy, and Kid. Their father was an abusive drunk. After he got sober and found religion, he fathered three more sons with normal names.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: The movie is essentially named after this trope: Son (Shannon) has prominent scarring on his back from a shotgun blast, and several stories are told throughout the film, explaining them. Each story gives an alternate interpretation for who he is as a person, and for his motivations throughout the film.
  • Feuding Families: When Son, Boy, and Kid crash their father's funeral and call him an abusive drunk, it sets off a feud between them and their three half-siblings.
  • The Gambling Addict: Son is shown several times working on his "system" for beating the local casino. By how his family lives, it doesn't appear to be successful.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The movie tends to avoid graphic depictions of violence, usually cutting away just as a fight starts or begins to escalate.
  • Kick the Dog: Mark, possibly aided by John and Stephen, kills Boy's pet dog by releasing a poisonous snake near it.
  • Only Sane Man: Cleaman is far more reasonable and non-confrontational toward Son, Boy, and Kid than his three brothers are. He does hold Son at gunpoint in one scene, but only because Son did the same thing to him earlier, and he's still willing to hear Son out.
  • Parental Abandonment: Son, Boy, and Kid's father was an abusive drunk who abandoned the family, and by all appearances even after he sobered up and found religion never reached out to them again.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The Cycle of Revenge ends abruptly when Boy finds he can't actually bring himself to murder anyone point-blank with the titular shotgun. They talk things out and agree to leave each other alone. Also counts as a Bittersweet Ending
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The first three sons of an abusive alcoholic are named Son, Boy, and Kid. After he sobered up and found religion, he had several more sons with normal names.