Richard Dane is a happy family man, living in East Texas with his loving wife and young son. One night, while investigating noises in his home, Richard shoots a low-life burglar, Freddy Russell, standing in his living room. The investigation is swift, leaving Richard a small town hero in the process. Dane struggles with the notion that he killed a man, finding himself consumed by fear when the burglar's ex-con father, Ben, comes rolling into town for vengeance. Jim Mickle's Cold in July is a sweaty, gritty, southern noir that excels at nearly everything it sets out to do. Cold In July is well written, well paced, and well executed throughout, leading to a stellar finale reminiscent of the final shootout in John Flynn's criminally underrated Rolling Thunder. This is a throwback film in that regard, where the violence is very real, making the viewer feel every punch and shotgun blast. The less you know going in the better with this film, as Jim Mickle's thriller does the genre proud while simultaneously subverting expectations whenever it can. The cast is phenomenal from top to bottom but Sam Shepard steals the movie with his fantastic performance. Classifying Cold In July as a revenge thriller isn't doing this film enough justice, as I found myself enamored and deeply affected by the paternal nature of the story. Cold in July is not a film about vengeance but a film about fathers and sons, capturing the strong emotional attachment one has with the person they bring into the world. With fantastic performances all around, Jim Mickle has created a stellar southern noir that I would argue is his best film yet.
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