Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cold Weather - movie review

Cold Weather is not a forecast, but a 2011 film set in Portland, Oregon, which has earned largely positive reviews (though British film critics seem to have been less impressed than their American counterparts.) I've seen it described as a "thriller", but this is a misnomer. Cold Weather is as low-key as it is low-budget. And it's certainly different.

In some respects, the story is about crime and its detection, but the whole film is very naturalistic in style and extremely slow-moving. The lack of pace and thrills did not, however,put me off. I found it oddly watchable, from the lethargic start to the unexpected and rather arbitrary ending. So it's fair to say that there must be more to the script, and the acting, than at first meets the eye.

Doug (Cris Lakenau) is a young man who has dropped out of a forensic science course, but he fancies himself as a detective. At the start of the film, he is wrapped up in a book of stories about Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman, and he is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. So I was predisposed to like him, despite his general doziness - he really does seem to need a good shake. He takes a dead-end labouring job at an ice factory, and befriends a colleague whom he introduces to his sister (the quietly charismatic Trieste Kelly Dunn) and his former girlfriend Rachel, who has come to town apparently on business. When Rachel goes missing, Doug, his sister and his friend, turn detective and try to find out what is going on.

The plot is, however, inconsequential in the extreme. The real emphasis is on the characters' inter-relationships,.and in particular the brother and sister relationship is at the heart of the movie. About half way through the film, I thought I knew how it was going to develop. It turned out that I was completely wrong, and I give the director/writer Aaron Katz full marks for managing to keep me interested despite failing to supply most of the ingredients that usually go into the making of a good crime film. Definitely worth a look - just don't expect conventional thrills.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, did you think the "twist" 1/2 way through was going to be that the ex-gf's disappearance was a "set up" by the main guy's friends, intended to shake him out of his general doziness?

Just curious, because that's how I thought it was going.

Not a bad little film. The ultra-low budget, naturalistic style is called "mumblecore" apparently. So now you know.