The film introduces us to Doug (played by Cris Lankenau) who had dropped out of college in Chicago and made it back to Portland to crash on the couch of his much more sensible and anal-retentive sister, Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn who starred in Fox’s Canterbury’s Law). Doug wants to be a detective. When his ex-girlfriend Rachel (Robin Rikoon, Fringe and the Unusuals) disappears, he recruits co-worker Carlos (Raul Castillo, Don't Let Me Drown and Amexicano) to help live out his Philip Marlowe ambition. But don’t let the private-eye stuff fool you. From beginning to end, this film is about Doug’s relationship to his sister.
I bounced my concern with this film’s lack of structure off writer/director Paul Chitlik (The New Twilight Zone, Beyond Belief, Who’s the Boss, Brothers, Amen, Perfect Strangers) at the Alameda Writers Group February meeting. Paul teaches a very structured approach to screenplay writing, but pointed out that ten percent of successful films don’t follow the traditional structure. He said that this was more common in films made outside the United States.
So, Cold Weather is a “ten percenter,” perhaps more European in style and definitely outside the normal Hollywood approach. It reminded me of starting to watch a soap opera (albeit one done with extremely high standards of writing, acting, cinematography and direction) on a Monday and stopping on a Friday. No wonder my wife liked it.
If you’re willing to live a highly unconventional 97 minutes in rainy Portland with interesting people, you may, too.