Cold in July

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How can a split-second decision change your life? While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) puts a bullet in the brain of a low-life burglar, Freddy Russell. Although he’s hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family’s safety when Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town; hell-bent on revenge. However, not all is as it seems. Shortly after Dane kills the home intruder, his life begins to unravel into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Twists and turns continue to accelerate as the film reaches its inevitable destination: a blood-soaked dead end. Michael C. Hall brings a shell-shocked vulnerability to his performance that contrasts perfectly with the grizzled “badasses” portrayed by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. Directed by Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are) with a keen eye for the visual poetry of noir, this pulpy, southern-fried mystery is a throwback to an older breed of action films; one where every punch and shotgun blast opens up both physical and spiritual wounds. Cold in July is as hard to shake as an east Texas summer. (Dir. by Jim Mickle, 2014, USA, 109 mins., Rated R, IFC Films) Digital