Cold in July (2014), a violent crime thriller adapted from Joe R. Lansdale's novel of the same name. In his first major role since TV's Dexter plunged his knife for the final time, Michael C. Hall makes a welcome return to the big screen, demonstrating how his collected and effortlessly engaging manner can lift even the most average material. Set in East Texas in 1989, Hall plays Richard Done, a mulleted, mild-mannered everyman and devoted husband and father, whose moderate life takes a dramatic turn when, after being awoken one night, he fatally shoots a burglar in his home.
Mickle deftly weaves these together into a mostly cohesive whole, starting as a throwback to a particularly eighties style of slasher movie – especially throughout Russel's numerous domestic threats – and ending as something resembling an all-out action thriller. However, a baggy middle section unfortunately weighs things down and brings the story to a near-total standstill. In theory, this midpoint should be the film's finest section, setting into motion and clearly delineating the full extent of the surreptitious nature of what's actually boiling beneath these suburban surfaces. Instead, it only allows proceedings to become progressively less gripping. As a feature-length demonstration of its director's multifarious genre admiration, Cold in July comes highly recommended, if only it wasn't for the spiky and stifling tonal shifts.
★★★★☆ The Killing of a Sacred Deer
★★★★☆ The Meyerowitz Stories
★★★★☆ Happy End
★★★☆☆ The Square
★★★☆☆ 120 Beats Per Minute
★★★☆☆ Jupiter's Moon
Follow our ongoing Cannes 2017 coverage.
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