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Movie review: 'Cold Weather' (3 stars)

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Cold Weather
3 stars
Written and directed by Aaron Katz
Starring Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly, Raul Castillo
Rated R

Steeped in dreary gray skies and relentless drizzle, “Cold Weather,” set in Portland, Ore., will evoke a damp chill in your body. Somehow, though, director Aaron Katz subverts the starkness of the environment and crafts a miraculously cheery detective tale.

Doug (Cris Lankenau) is a forensic-science student turned slacker who moves home to Portland to live with his responsible but cool older sister (Trieste Kelly). The first half-hour of the movie unfolds as an affectionate portrayal of siblinghood. Without resorting to sentiment, Katz manages to capture an endearing sense of familial familiarity.

The film takes a tonal turn when Doug and his co-worker, Carlos (Raul Castillo), investigate the disappearance of Doug’s ex-girlfriend. Using their powers of observation, they embark on an investigation with an everyman’s sense of excitement: They skip work, snoop around hotels, dig through trash. When Doug enlists his sister, the hunt becomes a family affair.
“Cold Weather” is a humble film, but the confident storytelling and genuine performances will collectively hook you.

Playing at IFC Center

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