We begin with Mark (Wyle) sitting at a restaurant, talking to his soon to be ex-wife Phoebe (Sharon Leal), there divide is one of sadness, where Mark wishes they could give their relationship more time. The conversation is an important set up in the grand scheme of life, because we never know when something bad can happen to us. Our focus moves to Miguel, who is being bullied and beat up by other kids from his class after school. He's fed up with being pushed around and his cousin tells him he has to stand up for himself. He shows him a gun and at that very moment the sad ex-couple has finished their dinner, walking down the street in the distance. The gun goes off. The bullet strikes Mark in his chest and exiting out his back. He falls to the ground, in shock, and surviving this is a long, bloody process to save his life.
Jeremy Kagan's film is what I call a form of gimmick cinema. What it does is take an idea, such as following this man who has been shot, and commits to the narrative of his entire personal experience. The cinematography by Jacek Laskus puts the audience in his place with the use of POV shots and a shaky camera. I'm reminded of other films such as Buried, which puts the audience under ground with Ryan Reynolds or a film that had us driving in the front seat of a car with Tom Hardy in Locke. Shot is a film that takes this similar kind of angle, but parallels the experience for the man shot along with the person who set off the gun. Kagan delivers a film that puts us in those shoes and the movie is better for it.
Once Mark's body hits the ground the action begins with onlookers surround his body, someone calls 911, and an ambulance quickly arrives. If you have any fears or easily become nauseous from blood then you might not be able to stomach the images inside the ER. Shot does an excellent job of making the experience uncomfortable where EMT's, nurses, and surgeons enter tending to his wound. Tubes are inserted in his body, as the fear of his life is at stake, but also the caution that he lose the use of his limbs. The irony is not lost on me that Wyle, the longtime ER actor, does a strong job of playing the victim in need of a doctors assistance. His performance is quite strong. Leal's performance as Phoebe is reduced to playing the worried family, standing by with a feeling of utter hopelessness.
Eventually, the paths of Mark's and Miguel's will cross, but the journey they take to go from a person who made a bad mistake to someone who will be scarred for life, it's one of the best things about Shot. The narrative pacing can sometimes be too convenient for someone bleeding in a hospital, so the script is stretched quite far. However, this is a film with a lot of empathy, that sends a strong message about the dangers of guns. It's not an anti-gun message as much of a statement about the lives that have been ruined by the weapons. If you want to watch a movie that offers something a bit new, you might give it a Shot.
Written by: Leo Brady
STARRING: NOAH WYLE; SHARON LEAL; JORGE LENDEBORG JR.
DIRECTED BY: JEREMY KAGAN
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Midway through Shot, I started to wince just thinking about how painful being shot with a bullet must be. Surprisingly enough, that seems to be the underlying message of director Jeremy Kagan's new film. The gun violence in the United States is crippling the world we live in and there seems to be no answer in sight. A film like Shot creates empathy for the characters involved in the situation. Noah Wyle stars as Mark, a man with the unfortunate luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A teenage boy named Miguel (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) accidentally fires off a gun that his cousin is showing him, causing a single bullet to strike Mark, impacting his life, and everyone else involved. Shot is an interesting look at a tragic situation and how senseless gun violence needs to be brought to an end.