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March 19, 2011 | 1:21 p.m. CST
Sherlock Holmes once said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Unfortunately, Cold Weather, an independent film that draws influences from Holmes and Hitchcock, takes liberties too far with this statement. Gold medalists in suspending disbelief will breeze by the unlikely plot twists and mechanisms. Others will be distracted.
Doug (Cris Lankenau) is a restless college dropout with a background in forensics who finds work in a Portland ice factory. When his ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Robyn Rikoon) shows up in town and subsequently vanishes, he embarks along with liquor-sipping sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) and bromanticized coworker/apparent BFF Carlos (Raúl Castillo) on a quest to find her. What follows is a non-clichéd mystery, diet thriller filled with exotic dancers (nudity is involved), pipe shopping, grape throwing and insulated overalls. But at the heart of Cold Weather, lies a commentary on human interaction and the relationship between a brother and sister.Related Movie
Intimate shots of Doug and his sister establish a personal feel and add an element of voyeurism to the mix. The cinematography throughout felt professional. Unfortunately, nothing else did.
In lieu of characterization, the audience is treated to lengths of watching Doug sleep, watching him read and watching Rachel walk. Half of the film feels like an ad by Portland Tourism with scenes saturated by cityscapes and Gail in her nightly Trailblazers tee.
The most interesting part of the movie, the ice factory, is never brought up again after Doug’s first days on the job. The dialogue between Doug and Carlos (he once says con-tem-play-tive) is realistic in capturing the banal and vulgar conversations between twenty-somethings, but doesn’t add to the storyline.
One redeeming quality of director Aaron Katz is his buildup of suspense. Complemented with a tense score that sounds like Danny Elfman was let loose with a pair of chopsticks in a frying pan-filled kitchen, blood pressure will rise in the more climactic scenes.
It might appear that Katz’s shoestring budget ran out midway through production because Cold Weather fails to follow through. Viewers will be sorely disappointed without a clear resolution stemming off the climax. Don’t stay after the credits — yes, that’s really how it ends.