Pour cette œuvre fort séduisante qui se déroule dans le sud de l'Arkansas profond et rural, nous sommes confronté, avec efficacité et subtilité, à un douloureux affrontement bicéphale entre deux familles rancunières, oscillant sans cesse entre drame intimiste et tragédie antique... www.cinefiches.com
Shades of Nichols to come (and undoubtedly an influence on modern Southern Gothic thrillers), his debut is a Linklater-meets-Mad-Max serene revenge tale. Without yet having fully realized his metaphysical and surrealistic elements, Nichols instead tiptoes through material light as the breeze travelling through the soundtrack, giving Southern reality a meditative, contemplative touch. An intro to one of the best.
Acting was woody at times, but character personalities were realistic and interesting in their contrasting nature. Cinematography was appropriately low-key. Overall, a well shot story with a poignant message about the cyclical nature of revenge and the results of pacifism.
Jeff Nichols' feature debut is a beautifully shot film about the consequences and cycle of violence, with memorable performances, judicious editing and great use of music. Looking back now, one of the greatest pleasures is seeing the potential Nichols has promised here being fully realised in later works like Take Shelter and Midnight Special, as well as the influence the film has had on works such as Blue Ruin.
Stories is a film about its director, a defining keystone of his abilities as film-maker. Despite the indomitable youth and uncompromising ingenuity displayed in the film, it is also palpable the naivety and shallowness across it all. The film is poorly rooted, barely credible, reasons are often confused and a string of monotonous performances do nothing but emphasizing the lack of tension and purpose all along.
I have come to look at Nichols as an undiluted, undistilled version of Alexander Payne. This, his first, has the kick of a buffalo and the narrative finesse of a oeuvre majeure. Brother Ben does an excellent job at creating as enduring a music signature as the film itself.
3.6. The shotgun, while instrumental, is also incidental. As in Mud, the real draw here is Nichols' deceptively casual, laconically insightful depiction of a very particular, currently somewhat notorious sector of American culture, as realized via the director's fond but not uncritical focus on a set of deftly realized characters, who, bemused, eccentric, doomed by degrees, are never reducible to stereotypes.