Friday, July 17, 2015

Delicious Pulp

Cold in July (2014) - Mickle
The writer/director - writer/actor team Jim Mickle and Nick Damici adapts Joe R. Lansdale's pulp of the same name, and the result is marvelous. Cold in July is a slow burner which starts out like a run of the mill revenge flick then morphs into something much more delicious. It concerns a small town nebbish family man, Dane (Michael C. Hall) in East Texas. After shooting and killing a bugler in the middle of the night, his family is getting hounded by the dead bugler's recently paroled, supposedly dad, Russel (grizzled, pot bellied Sam Shepard). But Dane slowly gets the feeling that the local sheriff (Damici) is hiding something from him. It becomes clear that there is a deeper conspiracy when he witnesses Russel drugged and left to die on the railroad tracks by the cops. Dane decides to save Russel to get the bottom of the matter. And after digging up the dead man from the cemetery, they find out that it's not Russel's son Dane killed.

Russel enlists his Korean War buddy, now a colorful PI Jim Bob (Don Johnson) to find whereabouts of his son. The plot turns again and we find out Russel's son turns out to be not who anyone expected. The three men, armed to the teeth go into the lion's den for the last gun fight!

Despite its pulpy premise, there is a lot to love in Cold in July. The cast is marvelous, especially Don Johnson as a stylish PI who still commands female attention everywhere he goes. Sam Shepard fits like a glove in the menacing, hammy conflicted daddy role. Hall in his mullet and spotty mustache, is probably the weakest main character in any movie, but does a great job playing ordinary man trying to prove himself that he's indeed a man. Love the 1989 setting so Mickle can amp up the Carpenter style soundtrack and play some White Lion in the soundtrack. SO COOL!

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