Aaron Katz’s Rainy Day Movie

By

Published June 9, 2010

CRIS LANKENAU IN COLD WEATHER

 

Aaron Katz (Quiet City, Dance Party USA) has made a movie that ventures into the everyday vacuum of being young, lost, and at an impasse. Cold Weather, which premiered earlier this year at South by Southwest and will be playing in New York June 12th and 17th an as part of BAMcinemaFEST, is an unlikely story of suspense and mystery set against the rainy, mineral and metal-hued stillness of Portland’s landscape.

Doug (Cris Lankenau), a pouty twenty-something who moves with the delay and wonder of a curious, melancholic child, is taking time off from his studies in forensic science and is living with his sister, Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn). With a straightforward routine–exemplified by the conveyer belt rhythm of his job at the local ice factory–Doug reads his Sherlock Holmes books, plays cards, drinks occasionally, and hangs out with Gail. Together, the siblings revert to a rainy-day idleness that is sweetly captured in moments of them scratching bingo cards on a sidewalk curb, splattering grapes from a rooftop as they share relationship advice, and enjoying each other’s silent company.

Evoking a Hardy Boys spirit, Doug, his friend from work, Carlos (Raul Castillo), and Gail, attempt to solve the mystery of a missing friend. Playfully inflated, their detective impulses–code cracking, disguise, pipe smoking, stakeouts–entertain while never overextending. In this way, the audience is provided with an unusual access to the characters; portraits of prosaic realism animated by the wonderfully sincere and slapdash whims of these first time P.I.s.

Keegan DeWitt’s original score–an array of incongruous sounds, clatter, and comedic turns–mirrors the film’s interchange of realism and quirk while avoiding the jeopardous traps of fraught eccentricity. At its center, Cold Weather is the rare portrayal of an adult brother sister relationship; always maturing, yet fixed to a childlike innocence and the shared memories of adventure.