American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"Cold Weather" is good in so many subtle ways, I despair of doing them justice. It's a thriller involving the personalities of its characters, who we get to know surprisingly well. It remains low-key even during its final big chase scene, which only involves one car. The acting is so good, you may not notice it. Although the characters stumble over the plot at least 40 minutes into the film, it's as ingenious as a high-tech Friday night special.
The tone is established by Doug (Cris Lankenau), a mid-20s guy who was studying forensics in college but dropped out for no reason that he ever explains. In an opening scene, he tells his parents "it's a possibility" he may return to school.
For now, he's returned to Portland, Ore., and is sleeping on the sofa at his sister's apartment. He finds a job in a factory that makes those plastic bags filled with ice and spends his time shifting bags from one place to another.
Doug and his sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) get along fine. No sibling problems. At work, he makes a friend named Carlos (Raul Castillo) and lends him a book of Sherlock Holmes stories. Carlos likes it. Doug's former girlfriend, Rachel (Robyn Rikoon), comes to town from Chicago and gets a motel room while she trains for a job, she says. The four characters spend some time together. No big deal. Carlos asks Rachel to a Star Trek convention. Doug is fine with that. He remains friends with Rachel, but their romance is over with.