Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
On a hot summer night in East Texas, 1989, regular guy Richard Dane (Dexter’s Michael C. Hall) awakes to find an intruder breaking into his home. Mindful of the safety of his wife and young son, he pulls out his firearm, confronts the man and ends up messing the décor with the intruder’s interior. Informed by the police that the dead man was Freddy Russell, a career criminal whose passing will not be missed, Richard is not only relieved, but irrevocably changed: murder maketh the man, at least in the eyes of the townsfolk. But this Charles Bronson façade is revealed to be pure bravado shortly thereafter, when Freddy’s father Ben (Sam Shepard), one mean sum’bitch freshly released from prison, shows up itching for answers and seeking revenge. This is when the fun really begins, as the plot takes a turn that twists and tightens like a rattler snaking up your leg. Based on a novel by Southern stalwart Joe R. Landsdale, Cold in July is part buddy movie, part road trip driven by a heady meditation on machismo. Boasting a rock solid supporting cast (including scene-stealer Don Johnson) with a natural chemistry and an intensity to match, this is one superior slice of Texan pulp fiction.
“It’s rolling in great, punchy scenes, meaty performances and bold, unexpected twists, while also finding time for those quiet, heartfelt character moments that bring a story to life. Any film that teams up gruffer-than-thou icons Shepard and Johnson is bound to go heavy on the testosterone, but Mickle undercuts all this strident manliness with a rich vein of self-mocking wit and paternal angst.” — Tom Huddleston, Time Out