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Cold In July Movie Review

Title: Cold In July

Director: Jim Mickle

Starring: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw, Wyatt Russell, Nick Damici.

Director Jim Mickle returned to the Sundance Film Festival with the movie ‘Cold In July,’ an adaptation of Joe R. Landsdale’s cult novel with the same title. This was his second year in a row following 2013’s critical smash ‘We Are What We Are,’

‘Cold In July,’ is set in East Texas during the late 1980s. One night Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) puts a bullet in the brain of a burglar, the alleged Freddy Russell. When the victim’s con father, Ben (Sam Shepard), will find out, he will seek revenge. However, things aren’t always what they seem, and a variety of twists and turns will see two fathers who spitefully initially pitted against each other, forced to band together to uncover a darker truth.

The ‘Dexter’ star brings the dark intensity that one would expect from him to the character of Richard Dane: it’s inevitable to compare the two roles since  they are both killers. Nevertheless this time Michael C. Hall kills by accident,  out of panic, with uncertainty and gawkiness. He definitely brings a different touch to this character, that is just as enthralling and on par to his previous performances, even the most demanding scenes in ‘Six Feet Under.’ Alongside with him is more than a supporting cast. The legendary Sam Shepard and Don Johnson elevate the film, thanks to layered characters and clever dialogue. Not the same can be said unfortunately of female characters, that are completely neglected, for instance, Vinessa Shaw, who plays Dane’s wife, is given little to do in the film other than showing her fear during the break-in.

Nonetheless Mickle’s ability to mix genres proves to be utterly effective, with an evident nod to John Carpenter’s filmography. The neo-noir and glorious ‘80s action has the ability to tickle you pink and make you jump off your chairs.

Technical: B

Acting: B

Story: B-

Overall: B

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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