Box art for Clay Pigeons

Clay Pigeons

comedy, drama, thrillers

One death devolves into many more in this comical nightmare about an easy-going gas station attendant (Joaquin Phoenix) who covers up his best friend's suicide in a quirky small town.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 17
    see all Clay Pigeons reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Clay Pigeons may not actually be a good movie, but it has many of the ingredients of one.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh: It's got unpredictable plot twists and unexpected laughs coming out of dark corners.

- Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, January 1, 2000


- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Sheriff Mooney: Promise me something there, will you? Clay Bidwell: What's that? Sheriff Mooney: Promise you'll stop finding dead people. This is a little known flick from 1998 starring Joaquin Phoenix and Vince Vaughn, before they became big stars. It's a quirky dark comedy mixed with a mild noir thriller. It has a plot and style clearly influence by movies such as Fargo, Blood Simple and Strangers on a Train. Director Dennis Dobkin, who would go on to make Wedding Crashers with Vaughn, has been given the chance here to make a quirky character comedy/thriller with visual flare akin to Ridley and Tony Scott, who served as producers on the movie. The story is set in Mercer, Montana. Phoenix plays Clay, whose best friend has just killed himself in an attempt to frame Clay since he had an affair with his wife Amanda (see what I mean by quirky... in a dark way). After Clay deals with the body, his problems continue as Amanda makes his life a living hell for him and more unfortunate incidents occur. Lester Long: You don't know the half of it. I'm like a big fireworks show. I'm pretty bright. Like Lite Brite. A mysterious cowboy character turns up, calling himself Lester (Vaughn) and befriends Clay, attempting to be his friend. From what we can see of Lester, he is a charmer and loves to have a good laugh and go fishing. Problems arise as more bodies turn up, prompting an FBI Agent, Janeane Garofalo, to arrive in search of a serial killer, who has stabbed quite a number of women in the area. You also have the town sheriff, played by Scott Wilson, who may be smarter than he seems to figure out the truth behind the crimes going on. One thing is for sure, Clay is having a rough month. This movie is effective in the same way that most Cohen brother films are. The story is fairly simple, but it revolves around characters that we like to observe. They don't necessarily have an arc, but its nice to familiarize ourselves with them and see what happens next. The three leads are all good, the story works well despite fumbling a bit at the end, it balances the tone well, and the soundtrack is pretty good. Its a fun little movie if a bit dark. Dale Shelby: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! You're standing in evidence! Sheriff Mooney: Barney! Dale Shelby: Your deputy's name is Barney? That's great.

- DrZeek, Thursday, May 8, 2008

3 stars

Not great, not bad.

- mjgildea, Monday, November 20, 2006

2 stars

Vince Vaughn proves his range, even if it is him acting like himself with a country twang. The first hour of this film is pretty fun. Vaughn is electric and funny, and I kind of wanted to see what happens. But, the ending left a sour taste in my mouth, reminding me of Woody Allen's Match Point. I hate when films and scripts think people can honestly get away with murder. It's just unrealistic these days. It's an OK story, but it loses its flair midway through.

- mattsigur1, Sunday, August 22, 2010