Cold Weather Reviews
Summary: After things go south for former forensic science major Doug (Cris Lankenau), he leaves Chicago and returns home to Oregon to live with his sister, Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) -- and soon finds himself entangled in an unexpected situation that calls on his investigative mind. Together with Gail and his friend Carlos, Doug uses his forensic skills and the techniques he's learned as a detective fiction enthusiast to unravel the mystery he encounters.
MyThoughts: "The movie is a bit slow and doesn't give a lot of background on the character's, but I still found the story interesting and the character's to be likeable.The film is an independent mystery with the concept being the likes of Sherlock Holmes. It's a simple film. No blood or guts. But enjoyable none the less. I found it to be funny too. It's one of those films where you feel like you've been dropped into the middle of these peoples lives. No build up, no back story, just the here and now of what's happening. Not a bad film to watch on a long day."
Fortunately for me, I had forgotten why I wanted to view this film, other than that Ebert had recommended it. So I had no preconceptions going in, other than the short synopsis that Direct TV gives its films ("a comedy/mystery" now there's a novel concept).
The beauty of this film is that, yes, there is a mystery - and I'm not going to say what it is - only that said mystery only begins to unfold half way through the films 100 minute run time. In the meantime you get to know the main characters, by witnessing how they go about their everyday lives. It's reality TV, only it's REAL, not some jumped up, look at me, BS, but actual, understated, this is my daily/weekly routine kind of stuff. Boring? Perhaps, and you keep wondering where the film is headed; but there's a point to it all - giving the film a very quirky tone that is yet another double edged sword - serving it well, but perhaps being too understated for its own good. It's hard to decide. As the film abruptly ended (literally) - I sat and thought for several minutes - yeah, it all worked, the tone, the fabulous "non-acting" of the actors... and yet does an Indie film have to scream Indie at the top of its lungs?
In all, the characters are all believable, just regular folks, and there are so many subtle moments where the film seems just right, that I found this a refreshing trip away from Hollywood - note the fact that there is a chase scene ... involving only one car! Said scene, and the setup behind it are perfect examples of "what would you do?" Probably the same things these "regular" folks did - and that's the beauty of it... although the film's abrupt end, while I understood it, left me wanting some kind of resolution - see, I'm brainwashed by Hollywood after all.
First of all, it's pretty awesome how Cold Weather mixes the everyday, mostly uneventful, almost boring lives of their characters with surprising levels of mystery and tension. It's not often the word "realistic" fits a film as aptly as it does this movie.
Second, I thought it ended much too quickly and abruptly, which is actually a partial compliment. For one, I wasn't ready for it to be over, and it ended in an unexpected and non-formulaic way.
Third, this was simply one of the freshest movie experiences I've had this year, and I expect that it will be even better upon subsequent viewings. The closest thing I can think of to compare it to is Winter's Bone. Not because the stories are similar, but because they center around realistic, un-stylized characters that make small, personal events seem more urgent and engrossing than the world-ending, massively bombastic plots of some much bigger films.
With that said, I definitely think the audience for Cold Weather is more narrow than broad. It's by no means a perfect movie. The plot relies on coincidence after coincidence, and that may be hard for some to swallow. It's also a slow-burner throughout, and that may bore some people. Slow-paced doesn't necessarily mean boring or bad in my opinion, though, so I don't hesitate in giving Cold Weather my approval.
"Cold Weather" is an engagingly offbeat movie about how disappointments in life can weigh us down. So to escape the drudgery of work, we should play hooky every so often and have an adventure. That holds true especially for Doug who was inspired by Sherlock Holmes stories and Carlos who is a Star Trek fan.(What they forget to mention are the Next Generation episodes where Data dressed up like Sherlock Holmes. By the way, I totally agree that Gul Dukat was a really cool character. And, no, I have no idea why I am referencing Star Trek since I'm not really a fan and I promise not to do so in my next review.) In fact, I'll bet Doug bailed on forensic science when he found out how really dull it is.(I thought CSI would get referenced sooner or later, for that same reason.) So, while the movie makes great use of Portland locations, it does end suddenly, after a climax of almost unbearable suspense. I'm not so much interested in the resolution of the mystery, as after getting to know these characters so well, it seems a shame to leave them like that.
Plot wise the film introduces us to a forensic science college dropout Doug who idolizes Sherlock Holmes and his Slacker sister Gail as they move into an apartment together in Portland Oregon. Doug lays about and searches for some direction in life, eventually finding a menial night job at an ice factory. We are then introduced to one of Doug's co-workers Carlos and Doug's ex-girlfriend Rachel who is in town for business.
The four start hanging out together, playing cards and board games, drinking coffee, going to clubs and enjoying each other's company. Rachel's sudden mysterious disappearance from her hotel room spurs the other friends to action and ignites Doug's inner Sherlock Holmes.
This film is considered by many critics to be part of the mumblecore movement. As such it has lots of long shots, a slowly evolving plot and realistic dialogue between lots of slackers. In some respects this film is more about the brother sister relationship between Doug and Gail than it is about the mystery of Rachel's disappearance. It has an arty independent feel to it and it was obviously shot on a low budget. Cold Weather is certainly not going to be for everyone's taste, especially the abrupt ending. However, I really liked its quirkiness and indie feel probably because I've got thing for overly educated layabouts.
Since this is available on Netflix instant streaming I would suggest you give it a viewing. That is if you enjoy small independent films with a grungy vibe. I found it inspiring that the writer/director was able to get this made, I plan on checking out some of his previous films. O and I think I would like to take a trip up to check out Portland Oregon it looks amazing.