Review: Cold Weather
PLOT: A slow-building detective story that focuses more on relationships than on the case at hand. Three amateur sleuths try to figure why a friend has disappeared and who has taken her suitcase.
REVIEW: Aaron Katzís follow-up to the indie charmer QUIET CITY, COLD WEATHER stars Cris Lankenau, Trieste Dunn, and Raul Castillo, as a crew of friends that find themselves in a peculiar mystery. Although the film starts out in a similar manner to Katzís previous works - quiet and scenic; it eventually evolves into a beast of a different breed. This is not the mumblecore that you might expect. Instead, COLD WEATHER takes a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes that emphasizes the puzzle and character and ignore the explosive theatrics provided by Guy Ritchieís recent jaunt.
COLD WEATHER is not a film that you should research too deeply prior to seeing because knowing too much will ruin some of the charming mysteries to be discovered. And yet, a warning, enjoying this film is an acquired taste, much like salivating over a really dark beer. For those of you looking for gigantic skyscrapers falling, gunshots through the cerebellum, or a space alien with a British accent, please just move along. Instead, COLD WEATHER is a quiet charmer that expects you to be patient, ready to smile in your seat, and not too expect too much clarity. The best way to truly enjoy this film is to recognize itís just a chunk of life that has no beginning or end; and yet represents probably the most interesting event in these charactersí lives. COLD WEATHER is the normal personís highlight reel.
I enjoyed a majority of the performances in COLD WEATHER. Lankenau delivered a quietly comedic performance that is perfect for the genre. He proves not to be a big laugh kind of guy but rather a charming protagonist full of tiny smirk explosions (a grunge Jim Halpert). When heís paired up with Raul Castillo, COLD WEATHER is at itís best. While Lankenau plays for subtle comedy, Castillo gets the big laughs and delivers them with confidence and believability. He easily had the standout performance of the movie and I found myself begging for him to get more screen time. He deserves a grand future ahead of him.
Other key performances come from Trieste Dunn and Robyn Rikoon. While Dunn has plenty of screen time, Rikoon has much less space to work in. Dunn does a good job but doesnít have enough character for me to really feel connected with. She seems to be more of a comic foil for Lankenau rather than a fleshed-out character. Her relationship with Lankenau is expressed through a lot of quiet pseudo-romantic scenes; however, I just felt that there was more to be explored. Rikoon has a great entrance but loses a lot of her impact due to circumstances Iím not interested in spoiling. Sheís another character I wish had more screen time but in the confines of this story I can understand why she was left behind.
Finally, I enjoyed the scenery and the cinematography of COLD WEATHER immensely. Shot on the much ballyhooed Red One camera, I found myself often wanting to visit the beauty that is Portland, Oregon. For real. The shots of waterfalls, gloomy grey skies, and shadowy storage facility (reminiscent of one seen in PRIMER), blew my eyes wide open. What Katz and his cinematographer, Andrew Reed, have accomplished here is pretty incredible considering their limited budget and time. This is definitely one of the better looking indies out there.
Overall, I had a good time with COLD WEATHER. It kept me intrigued all the way through and works as a fun conversation piece afterwards. It is definitely not for all tastes but thatís usually the case with indie film. If youíre willing to check out something new that doesnít take itself too seriously without being incessantly wacky, COLD WEATHER is well worth the trip.