Aaron Katz’s junior detective mystery set in Portland, Oregon, stakes a claim as the founding work of mumble-noir. The 29-year-old director’s two previous features, Dance Party, USA (2006) and Quiet City (2007), established him as an offbeat miniaturist.
Cold Weather opens with college dropout Doug (Cris Lankenau) and his older sister, Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn), preparing dinner for their parents. Having abandoned plans to become a forensic scientist, Doug takes a minimum-wage job at an ice factory by the railroad tracks, where he bonds with Carlos (Raúl Castillo), an aspiring DJ. The social network is complete when Doug’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel (Robyn Rikoon), returns to Portland on an undisclosed mission from Chicago.
Carlos invites Doug to a Star Trek convention. Doug, uninterested, suggests that he take Rachel. She accepts but then disappears.
Steadily building in intensity from sluggish interest to mild excitement, Cold Weather is a slight movie with a long, circuitous fuse.