Brad is a teenager who has fallen on the wrong side of the tracks. Dealing drugs with his best friend, Gabriel, the two boys play a dangerous game with their futures. One night, with his mother's consent, Brad is abducted from his home in the middle of the night and sent to a Youth Rehabilitation facility in the middle of the mountains. Run by a veteran of the armed forces, Colonel Frank Reichert, this facility delivers a tough brand of discipline which is intent on breaking the wills of its subjects in order to correct them. Vincent Grashaw's Coldwater is an intense, grim examination of juvenile detention centers that exposes the lack of regulations and accountability these facilities have to deal with. Coldwater is made with a lot of anger for this system, showing the amount of violence that exists. This is a film that argues that these facilities are not helping to rehabilitate anyone using these violent practices, only further conditioning such troubled youth into the belief that violence is power, a troubling comprehension for sure. While Coldwater's message is important, the film comes off as far too manipulative and over-the-top at times, hammering home its message in a way that lacks almost all subtext. Its message is incredibly clear but I wish the film would have had more three-dimensional characters outside of its main protagonist, which would strengthen the overall narrative considerably. Vincent Grashaw's Coldwater is an intense film featuring strong performances, and while it beats the viewer over the head with its message a little too hard, it's a relatively powerful experience
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