Film Review: COLD IN JULY

Directed by Jim Mickle
Written by Nick Damici, based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale
Starring: Michael C Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw

Richard Dane (Hall) runs a picture framing business back in the eighties and his life is inalterably changed one night when he shoots and kills an intruder. The intruder’s father (Shepard), newly paroled, come after Dane and his wife (Shaw) and young son. When Dane and Russel find some incongruities in their story, they join forces to make sense of their situation with the help of an old friend Jim Bob (Johnson)

I enjoyed the first forty minutes of this film. It was a tight, tense story centering on a great character, a man, who perhaps bored with his life, makes some unusual choices. But then a tonal shift disrupts that with the introduction of the Johnson character. That character had charm, but it pushed the plot in more humorous and violent directions, which I did not find convincing.
The movie ended with more plot holes than anyone could possible fill. To mention them would be spoiling it though. I am sure they did not exist in the Lansdale story because he is too fine a writer. Now if you are the kind of movie goer who can just go with the flow, you will most probably enjoy this film. So I can’t really say that you shouldn’t see it. But I can’t really endorse what often felt arbitrary, inconsistent, and excessively violent.

Patti Abbott