Cold in July – film review

Cold in July is as cold as a corpse from an hour in. Until then we catch a little warmth, if not heat, from this thriller about an innocent family man (Michael C. Hall dimming down dexterously from TV’s Dexter) who fears revenge from the prison-released father of a burglar Hall shot dead in his home.

Sam Shepard looms spectrally as dad. Don Johnson brings brio and dandyish dress sense to his Texan private detective. Both characters present promising calling cards. But once the plot reveals its grislier direction – no spoilers – promise is swapped for standard-issue blood-and-circus melodrama. Sometimes “raising the stakes” in a crime narrative feels just the same as pulling them up. “Show’s over bar the screaming. On to the next big-tent event, in the next town . . . ”

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