Cold in July (2014)

2016 #118
Jim Mickle | 106 mins | streaming (HD) | 2.35:1 | USA & France / English | 15 / R

Cold in July

After a family man (Michael C. Hall) shoots dead an intruder in his home, the intruder’s ex-con father (Sam Shepard) threatens his family.

People often call for more originality in their stories, then criticise a film like this for jumping around in genre and tone. Personally, I didn’t think it changed much in either. The plot is far from straightforward — twists take the story in unexpected directions with each act (if not even more often) — but as a whole it remains a neo-noir crime thriller.

Filling out the film beyond its story, there are some great performances — Shepard, in particular, says very little but conveys his whole character and attitude. It’s very nicely shot by Ryan Samul, and there’s an amazing score by Jeff Grace.

At first blush Cold in July may look like just another crime thriller, but, with an unguessable narrative supported by strong filmmaking, it stands out from the crowd.

5 out of 5

Cold in July placed 9th on my list of The 20 Best Films I Saw For the First Time in 2016, which can be read in full here, and also featured on my list of favourite movies from the past decade, which you can read about here.

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10 thoughts on “Cold in July (2014)

  1. I really want to watch this. It looks really interesting, and it seems a pretty cool cast too. Been on my watchlist for months but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Too many tv shows lately, and only so much time available to watch stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ain’t that the truth! I think I could dedicate all my time for a week to my “really must get round to” list and still only make a dent in it.

      I’m wary of over-hyping this because I think the fact it caught me by surprise was part of its success, but I’d definitely advocate finding time for it.

      Like

      • Very often that seems the best way to approach films, with zero hype or expectations. Perhaps that why so many blockbusters seem underwhelming after all the publicity they get prior to release. Films that arrive ‘under the radar’ can pleasantly surprise, although yes, conversly you can then fall into the trap of over-praising them and pushing subsequent viewers victim of the hype train. Just can’t win!

        Liked by 1 person

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