Wednesday, November 11, 2015

COLD WEATHER (2010)



Cold Weather is the story of Doug (Cris Lankenau), a college drop out who has moved back home to Portland, Oregon. Now living with his sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn), he works at an ice packing factory, where he bonds with another worker Carlos (Raul Castillo), over their shared love of Sherlock Holmes. Life goes on with few surprises, until Doug's ex (Robyn Rikoon) disappears from her hotel room, and the unlikely trio are drawn into uncovering the mystery.

I hate to use hyperbole but I love this movie.

It's not big -- it does not have a big mystery or the expected set pieces. There are no drug deals gone bad, or killers on the prowl -- just a missing ex-girlfriend, who might just not want to talk to our hero. The characters are schlubs, and their problems are mundane.

The other thing that makes Cold Weather great is not just how small it is, but how it manages to build on its own strengths rather than spring some late third act 'plot' contrivances. So many lo-fi thrillers end up going for the easy out with a kidnapping or a shootout, but Cold Weather sidesteps that potential pitfall and continues on its own meandering course.

Performances from the small, unknown cast are excellent for how real and un-showy they are. It just feels like a camera man stumbled onto these characters and followed them for a while. Aaron Katz's direction is as minimalist as his cast -- this is a rare picture where every element is on the same, extremely specific bandwidth.

In some ways, Cold Weather reminded me of Let The Right One In -- a genre film stripped of all the cliches and obvious audience signposts, where the focus is on human relationships rather than genre tropes. Cold Weather is a unique creation, and one which deserves more attention.

Check it out.

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