Starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Sheppard and Don Johnson, Cold in July is a tense thriller which keeps it audience guessing with each turn.
Transitioning from television to cinema is often tough for an actor however Hall carries the film on an absolutely wonderful performance as small town every-man Richard Dane. As the story is seen through his eyes, it is key that we sympathise with the terrible ordeal that he faces in the film’s opening and how this affects him over the continued arc.
The film constantly switches the perceptions of its characters which is very well handled and consistently ensures the audience is engaged and encapsulated. Tonally, the film carves a seedy and awkward atmosphere. Whilst in no way a bad thing, it does leave the perception of uneasiness.
It almost feels like a film from the past, harking back to the works of Carpenter and Peckinpah. Director Jim Mickle walked the line of fresh and familiar whilst including more twists in a tale. The real skill comes with audiences moving with the story throughout its twists and turns and this is handled with ease by Mickle.
Whilst not having read this, it’s clear in the watching that this was once a novel. The episodic nature of the narrative lends itself to chapters and offers respite for its audience between the intense action.
On the whole, Mickle has crafted a film which is memorable, dark and tense Cold in July is a fantastic and thrilling film with a wonderful leading performance by Michael C. Hall.