In Review

Quickfire Review: Cold In July (2014)

Synopsis: 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

My Take

 Cold In JulyBased on Joe Lansdale’s novel of the same name, Cold In July is an average exploitation-thriller elevated by an excellent trio of performances from it’s central male leads.

Set in 1989 deep Texas, it starts as a cat and mouse thriller after timid family man Richard Dane (a wonderfully mulleted and mustachioed Michael C Hall) begrudgingly shoots dead a burglar in his secluded home. As he struggles to come to terms with the taking of a young man’s life, he becomes aware that the boy’s father Russel (Sam Shepperd), a dangerous ex-con, is openly seeking his revenge. The first 30 or so minutes are well played, tense and is at it’s best when taking the time to explore the Dane family try and move on with their lives, all leading up to a rain soaked showdown between the town’s officers and Russel.

Cold In July then takes a left turn as Dane stumbles upon some clues that suggest the boy he shot wasn’t Rusell’s son after all and the two men join forces to uncover the truth and seek out his real son, aided by Private Investigator and all round cool old Texas dude Jim Bob (Don Johnson). The next hour then hits all of the standard revenge thriller milestones as the trio uncover all sorts of nasty secrets on their path to righting some wrongs.

While it remains entertaining through to it’s conclusion, as the credits roll there is a sense that there was a more interesting story in the first 30 minutes than the last 60. It is ultimately raised above the ordinary by the performances of Hall, Johnson and Shepperd who enjoy a natural and at times understandably tense chemistry.

Conclusion: A fine thriller, albeit one with a more interesting story to tell

Verdict: 6/10

About

Cast: Michael C Hall, Sam Shepperd, Don Johnson, Wyatt Russell

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