“Cold Weather” is a movie that really stands out from the mainstream movies we watch on the big screen. The writer and director of the 2010 film, Aaron Katz, has had a major influence on the genre mumblecore. A genre, most popular with independent filmmakers, in which dialogue and character interaction is placed over the story itself.
“Cold Weather” takes that genre and fuses it with a mystery film. The movie relishes in the mundane. We watch the characters work their regular day-to-day job, go to a Star Trek convention, and talk about dates they went on while eating Swedish Fish. The mystery doesn’t really start until halfway through the film.
The movie uses everyday events to flesh out our characters. Some will find this boring, but I think it actually works for the most part. The characters feel like real people instead of pawns being driven forward for an artificial plot. They feel real and relatable. This is in most part due to the naturalistic performances given by mostly no-name actors.
The film feels very grungy and unpolished with long takes and handheld camerawork, but it really adds to the real world feeling.
The movie is far from perfect. It commits one gargantuan crime that drags it down from the greatness it could’ve had: the ending.
Without spoiling anything, the ending is simply unsatisfying. The mystery is never truly solved. We never get the answer to the audience’s most pertinent question. Instead, the film jarringly ends on a subplot.
The director has defended this ending stating that it draws emphasis on the heart of the story. The relationship between the main character, Doug, played by Cris Lankenau, and his sister. He has even gone as far as calling it an “anti twist.” The problem is that this relationship, while vital to the movie, just wasn’t in line with the audience’s main focus which was the mystery. Mumblecore is about the relationships between characters, but this movie was clearly trying to do something more. Using the mystery as a backdrop is an interesting and original choice, but refusing to give us any conclusion is merely infuriating.
The film is still worth watching, and the ride up to ending makes it well worth your time.
“Cold Weather” is not for everyone. There is a reason this is an independent film. A film like this would be nearly impossible to get made in Hollywood. But if you are looking for something different, it is certainly worth checking out.
“Cold Weather” is available on demand on platforms such as Amazon and itunes.