EIFF 2014: Cold in July

Film Review by jamie@theskinny.co.uk | 20 Jun 2014
  • EIFF2014 - Cold in July
Film title: Cold in July
Director: Jim Mickle
Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell, Vinessa Shaw

The exploitation revival of the last ten or so years has produced more duds than doozies, but Jim Mickle here delivers a real highlight of the sub-genre with this lean and menacing thriller set in late 80s Texas. An impressively mulleted Michael C. Hall plays Richard Dane, a small-town hick who, in a tense and brisk opening, fortuitously kills a home-invader. Hailed as a hero by the locals and sheriff’s department who had previously thought him a coward, Dane struggles with his act and news the intruder’s father (Sam Shepard) has been recently released from prison.

It’s a moody piece full of moral dilemmas, paternal responsibilities and eye-for-an-eye justice, played out against a pumping synth score and brilliantly evoked time and place. There are questions to be asked of some character development and motivations, but it just about all hangs together and is so enjoyable anyway that to pick further seems churlish. More sinister and contemplative in the first half, the introduction of Don Johnson’s hoot of a PI Jim Bob turns it into a very different, no less impressive, beast where, good as Hall is, Johnson and Sam Shepard steal the show.

Cold in July has its UK premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival

20 Jun, 6pm, Cineworld

23 Jun, 8.45pm, Cineworld