Michael C Hall meets Sam Shepard
Welcome Scribbler Fans! It seems Feind is just on a streak of great Indie films you should check out. Once again I found a flick that is well written, well directed, well acted and didn’t come out of the bowels of Hollywood with some giant budget. Movies like this let you know that movies are still worth watching. You may have to endure a thousand Michael Bay turds in the punchbowl to find them but they are out there. Indie kicks ass and Feind found another great one…
Cold In July is based on the novel of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale, I won’t lie to you here so I’ll admit I haven’t read it but in my defense I didn’t know it existed either. With that in mind, I won’t be able to speak to how well the story is adapted from the printed word to the big screen but what I can tell you is: go find Cold In July and watch it! Of course every avid reader knows the book is better than the movie 99.9999999% of the time but I do have to say if Cold In July the book is better than this movie then it is one hell of a good read. It has definitely been added to my reading list along with the novel trilogy that is the basis for my new favorite TV show, The Strain (shameless plug for the little *Spoiler-free* write up I did to start that series off).
When I decided to hit play on Cold In July it was honestly for one reason and one reason only, it starred one of my favorite actors in Michael C Hall who you all should know from the absolutely excellent show Dexter. If you never saw Dexter you’re missing one of my all time favorite shows. Now that Dexter is sadly over Michael C Hall is attempting to get his movie career going after the somewhat of a flop that was Gamer, not a terrible movie btw just not great either mainly because the ending is more than a little lame. However, with Cold In July Hall made a wise choice and gives an exceptional performance. I have to admit I barely recognized him at first due to the extraordinarily terrible mullet he dons in the flick. Seriously that shit is awful! The mullet does succeed in one aspect though, I never once thought of Dexter other than when Hall first appears on screen. Dexter would never have a mullet.
Cold In July begins in dramatic fashion with Dane (Michael C Hall) shooting an intruder in the middle of the night. The man he shot turns out to be the son of a ex-con Russel (played by Sam Shepard) who then sets out to take his revenge on Dane. Dane begins digging into the case to try and stop Russel from harming him and his family only to discover he is way out of his element. The seemingly helpful local sheriff becomes more of a stonewall than a help peaking Dane’s curiosity about what is going on even more. He finally tracks down Russel and together they figure out that the man Dane shot wasn’t Russel’s son at all.
Now normally when a film starts tossing in twists & turns in the plot it can get annoying and ridiculous but Cold In July never does. There aren’t constant plot twists and none are of the ludicrous variety that can ruin a film. What Dane (Hall) and Russel (Shepard) stumble across is a very dark and sinister world that no one likes to believe exists though it’s out there. Russel enlists the aide of pig farmer and his Korean War vet pal Jim Bob (excellently played by Don Johnson) who also happens to be a private investigator to try and find Russel’s wayward son. I have to pause just to praise Don Johnson for a moment here. I remember watching Miami Vice as a kid and honestly I never liked the show mainly due to the fact that I didn’t care for Johnson. However, now late in Johnson’s acting career he has popped up in some of this Scribbler’s favorites like Machete and has been doing a damn impressive job. He seems to keep making excellent choices as to what to appear in and is honestly one of the reasons I liked this particular film so much. Gone is Johnson’s reliance solely on his “looks” and in its place he is choosing good roles and doing a damn fine job of bringing the characters he chooses to life. This Scribbler no longer cringes when he sees Johnson is in something but rather looks forward to seeing him now. Now back to this excellent film…
Don Johnson knocked down but not out!
In the course of trying to figure out who it was that Dane actually shot in his home and where Russel’s son may be the trio, Dane, Russel & Jim Bob, stumble into the shady underworld of not just child pornography but also of “Snuff” films. Real snuff films not just fake ones being passed off as real. I shouldn’t need to explain but in case anyone out there doesn’t know what a snuff film is, it is a film of someone being killed or “snuffed”. Most are generally of a sexual nature filled with a woman being tortured, raped then killed. Some believe snuff films are a myth and that no such thing exists but they do. Another excellent film about snuff films that you should definitely check out is 8mm starring the often ridiculed Nicholas Cage though if you take a look at what Cage has done you’ll see he can be one of the best actors of my generation though admittedly you’ll find plenty in his filmography to make you shake your head with shame as well. But I seriously digress…
I won’t go into any further detail about Cold In July because it is a most excellent film that you should seek out at the very first opportunity because not only is a well written, well directed, well acted film it is also one hell of a story that should make you want to also seek out the novel on which it’s based as it did me. Joe R Lansdale is to be commended for telling such a gritty, dirty realistic story about something we’d all like to not think about and it seems to have been more than adequately adapted for the screen by the tandem of Jim Mickle (who also directed the film) and Nick Damici. I can only hope to write something as powerful and well done as Cold In July some day.
If you skipped to the end or if you just read all that drivel (Hey Cult! Are you proud I kept it spoiler free! I never said once that everyone dies in the end! Wait… Oops, is that a spoiler or is Feind just fuckin’ with ya? Guess you’ll have to watch to find out!) you know that I’m telling you that Cold In July is 100%...
Anatomy of a scene with director Jim Mickle -
Michael C Hall meets Sam Shepard
So what do you think Scribbler fans? Old Man Feind thinks this may be the best movie he's seen this year but there's a lot of year left. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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