Michael Shannon and Jeff Nichols have already produced some truly incredible work together. Shotgun Stories is an underseen indie gem. Take Shelter is like the most emotional Twilight Zone episode never made. Midnight Special plays as if John Carpenter magically jumped decades and delivered a new Starman. Hell, even Shannon's small parts in Mud and Loving see the legendary actor doing wonders with just a few scenes. They're one of the best creative teams working right now, so whenever their names pop up, we here at BMD definitely take notice.
In Nichols' new “short film,” the duo pair up again, as Shannon takes on another "heavy" character. It's all supposed to be a music video for Lucero's “Long Way Back Home” - a band that features the director's own sibling. However, unlike most music clips, there's a complete narrative on display, with acting turns by Shannon, as well as Scoot McNairy, Garrett Hedlund, and regular Nichols player Paul Sparks.
The story of "Long Way Back Home" is simple, and hits on many of the themes that have pervaded Nichols' previous work (familial blood, men of violence, etc.). A dangerous individual (Shannon) comes back to his hometown to meet up with his brothers (McNairy and Hedlund). Through a series of flashbacks, we get a sense that their relationship has always been complicated, as the melancholy short takes a rather ominous turn.
Take a look:
Man, that just made me want to watch all of those aforementioned movies in a row. Nobody makes masculine, Southern Gothic fantasies quite like Nichols, and Shannon does more heavy lifting in a music video than most actors accomplish within a feature's running time. Bravo.
Lucero's latest album, Among the Ghosts, is available now from Liberty & Lament.