A lot of the films that are reviewed on this site are ones that are drooled over for months, before Roger or I get our hands on them. Some are old films that get new releases, new films that we read about on the internet for a while before they come out, or just a movie we’ve had on our shelves for years, that haven’t been viewed in a while. Then, other times, we get to review films that are brand new to us, all together; Movies that we don’t know anything about, but for one reason or another, catch our attention. One of these films for me is Jim Mickle’s Cold in July.
When a protective father meets a murderous ex-con, both need to deviate from the path they are on as they soon find themselves entangled in a downwards spiral of lies and violence while having to confront their own inner psyche.
While this official breakdown of the plot sounds interesting enough, it doesn’t really do the film justice. It doesn’t really let you know what you are about to get into. What you are about to get into is a film adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale’s novel of the same name that combines many genres together, while imitating nothing you’ve ever seen before. Cold in July, to me, feels like two or three films put in a blender and mixed to perfection. The first act feels like a thriller, which transforms into a revenge flick, only to end as a western crime drama filled with shootouts and blood galore.
It is fascinating to me to watch an actor, year after year, reclaim a role that seems to define their entire career. I am referring to Michael C. Hall and his famous role as Dexter Morgan, which he returned to for seven years. Sure, he was on another show before that, Six Feet Under, but how many people remember him from that? The fascinating part to me is not that he is known for one character, but that he is such a great performer that I can watch him in a film like this and not think of him as “Dexter” the entire time. No, for the entire 109 minutes, Michael C. Hall was the ‘normal’ mullet-wearing framer named Richard. He played the role remarkably and I can’t wait to see him in more feature films in the future, to see more of his range and exactly what he can do.
In addition to Hall’s wonderful portrayal of Richard Dane, viewers are treated to two more outstanding actors. I don’t recall ever seeing any of Sam Shepard’s previous work and I was never a fan of Don Johnson’s earlier career, but the two veterans of the screen do an amazing job of completing the on-screen trio in Cold in July. The three mens’ characters are completely different, from three different backgrounds, but they manage to compliment each other perfectly, bringing a really great dynamic to the screen and the story itself.
Cold in July is a great film that will have you guessing what will happen next the entire time. I knew nothing of it going in, and I think that is the perfect way to experience it. It is highly original and entertaining from start to finish. If you’d like to see it for yourself, be sure to pick up a copy on DVD or Blu-ray on September 30, released by IFC Films.
I give this movie 4 baseball bats out of 5.