Runtime: 110 Mins
What To Expect: Violent viligantism, Texas style
Several times while watching this, especially towards the end and during the finale, I thought about rating this movie a 10/10. But I think that such a rating should only be reserved for outright classics. Too many sites and magazines throw around 5/5 and 10/10 ratings willy nilly, especially those with commercial sponsorships. But man, Cold In July, it’s such a good movie and an even manlier movie. It’s a raw, unsentimental and violent thriller with a peculiarly realist streak of black humor running up its back. It’s part Out Of The Furnace, part No Country For Old Men. It’s even set in the early ’90s.
The movie starts out with a man, Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) killing a pissant intruder in his own home, unarmed. This is Texas, so the police treat the case like just another varmant has been disposed of. But even for a redneck, the “suspect” is unnerved by the sheriff’s lackadaisical approach to the case and the body he has just been presented with. It’s hard to say what this movie is about because it’s so story-driven, to explain its main selling point and do it justice, would be to spoil the movie. But I can say that there’s a lot of “what the fuck is going to happen next?” in this movie. And almost every minute in the movie is put to use.
The finale of this movie in particular is a classic. Take it from me, it’s ultra-manly. And as the movie begins, it’s the last thing you’d think is going to happen. It’s a violent shootout where brutality is indifferently and matter-of-factly meted out, redneck style, to pissants who are begging for it. This is where manly actors Sam Shepherd and Don Johnson get in on the act, their performances during the violence where blood hits the ceiling are so subtle, like they were simply laying wallpaper. That goes for the movies quieter moments too, don’t forget it’s a thriller first – the acting powerfully compliments the realistic tone.
There’s only one problem that diverted me from a 10/10. The lead character, Dane, is a man motivated by protecting his wife and infant son. Later in the movie it could be argued that he has taken leave of his senses, or is written to do something that doesn’t make sense as far as being a father is concerned. You could maybe call it a plothole. But most people watching this will be enjoying it too much to notice or at least care.
A shoe in for one of the top five manliest movies of 2014. Don Johnson… what a fucking badass.