Quick Movie Review: Cold Weather (2010)

I watched Cold Weather at the suggestion of a friend. Actually, I can’t even remember if he suggested watching the film, but his recount of viewing it with his girlfriend both made me laugh and also intrigued me. She had made fun of the movie for its ridiculously lingering shots, but was pretty into it by the end of the movie. Anything that can put someone off and win them back over by the end has to be worth a watch, right? Well, sorta.

The movie’s about this guy Doug who was going to school for criminology, but stopped and now lives with his sister Gail. His ex girlfriend Robin comes into town and winds up getting into some trouble which Doug’s new friend Carlos encourages him to solve.

It sounds a lot more interesting than it actually is even though it winds up being kind of interesting. The problem I had with this movie was the dreadfully slow pacing. On paper it seems like a great, fast interesting story, but it comes off very slow. Like my friend’s girlfriend mentioned, the establishing shots don’t just linger, they drip like old glue thrown against the wall. How long do we really need to see the courtyard of a building in the beginning? Why am I looking at a beautiful, yet pointless-to-the-story, waterfall or flower? But even without those shots (which would probably bring the movie down from 96 to an even 90 minutes long) there’s a problem with the overall pace of the movie. See, towards the end when the mystery aspects really should be ramping up, we’re instead treated to long shots of people in cars or guys reading in the library. It’s almost like the movie is challenging you to like it or get really involved in the story by making you slog through some pretty boring stuff to get to the interesting bits.

I had that same feeling about Cris Lankenau as Doug. He’s kind of a dopey loser type guy that had me thinking of a younger and way, WAY less funny Nick Swardson or Napoleon Dynamite. He starts being this manchild goober who can’t understand why his sister has to work instead of going on a romantic picnic by a waterfall (I thought they were dating at first instead of related). I guess he might be something of a hipster/generational hero, but watching a guy run with his arms pointing straight down and not swaying just gets under my skin. Doug’s inability to use a computer also makes me wonder if he was just telling people he went to school and wasn’t actually just watching lots and lots of Cops. By the end, though, he showed enough skills and personality to make him actually interesting. I especially liked him getting a pipe to be more like Sherlock Holmes. I once thought about getting an old school type writer to be more connected to my writing. Woulda made blogging (and of course editing) a little more difficult. Sometimes we just need a totem, though, you know.

And yet, these was something about the movie that makes me want to see what else writer/director Aaron Katz can do. He makes beautiful looking movies that–as of now–just need a little shot of something to match the genre being handled. If the movie were just about an old girlfriend coming back and a guy failing at his life, then it would make more sense, but by making it a mystery and not altering the pace to match that, the whole thing comes off as unimportant. If Doug’s not really hurrying around trying to figure things out, why do we care? Overall, it’s an interesting flick with a lot of potential and plenty for the eyes. If you’re a little more patient than me, you’ll probably really dig it.