You think you know what’s happening in Cold in July by the first ten minutes, you’re wrong and that’s a good thing. This film has an evolving storyline that keeps the whole film fresh and exciting the audience. After shooting a burglar during a home invasion, Richard played by Michael C. Hall becomes a target of the burglar’s father. However before you think this film is a Cape Fear esque revenge flick, the film contains impressive twists that kept me guessing until the end. This film at its core is a story of crime and violence, how men have to take responsibility for their children.
Director Jim Mickle brings out three stand out performances from Hall, Sam Shepard and the great Don Johnson. Shepard is the vengeful father who is presented as an obvious antagonist but the story humanises him to a great deal that you’re rooting for the son of a bitch by the end of the movie. He’s a criminal but he’s also a father who wants to protect his son and has to come to difficult realisations about what that means. Now when I said this film keeps itself fresh there’s no better way for the film to tell you that than Don Johnson driving up in red Cadillac El Dorado music blaring. He brings a great energy to the film a great foil to the innocent of Hall’s character and Shepard’s morose nature. The three have a great chemistry together especially with Hall, he’s the odd one of in the bunch despite Johnson’s flair but there’s never a point in the film where it isn’t a natural progression for the character.
It’s a revenge tale turned mystery back into a revenge tale, Mickle keeps the film moving with an ease, despite new story lines and developments the film never goes off the rails. There is a scene in the film that bridges the second and third act where Mickle reminds the audience that the dark film they were watching is still here and gives you a “great” visual reminder. Let’s just say if a shady guy has a ton of unmarked video tapes in the trunk of his car, assume the worst and then crank up the dread a notch. The combination of evolving story is done just as well as the character development, I’ve mentioned before how Shepard has a powerful character journey but the other two leads get their moments as well all leading to an intense showdown of violent rampaging heroism.
Cold in July is a must see crime drama, prepare yourself for some violence and dark content but the overall result is well worth your time. I can praise the direction, performance, story and cinematography as much as I like but your time is better well spent watching this film as soon as possible.