Shot in the Heart Movie Review
In the allegory-seeking hands of director Agnieszka Holland (Total Eclipse), no opportunity is resisted for family dinner flashbacks where sinister dad Sam Shepard knocks over the turkey and throws young Gary around the room. Religious fervor is represented through wide-eyed mania in Shepard's resident madman and Amy Madigan's Carrie-tinged Mormon mother. More interesting are the prison scenes (shades of Oz), where Ribisi and Koteas are boxed in by walls of glass, steel, and wire frames. Unfortunately, the two ferociously talented lead performers are encouraged to conform to Actor's Studio emoting--Koteas can't keep still, Ribisi's hands are constantly kneading handy props (and, barring that, are continually rubbing away thinly veiled tears).
The central question of whether Mikal will be able to convince Gary to sign a stay of execution feels moot; it feels as though the characters have made up their minds long before the camera rolls. Shot in the Heart therefore feels more like an excuse to present dramatic circumstance. Pump up the volume, and let the screaming begin.