About once a year I see a movie that takes me completely by surprise, and sticks in my head long afterwards. In 2014 for me, that's Coldwater.
Its genius is its consistency in effective understatement, from the score, to the cinematography to the cast. How easily this movie could have been ruined in the wrong hands: a juvenile rehab camp run by an unhinged former marine. How easy it would have been to just throw in the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket. But no. James C. Burns exquisitely nails his portrayal of Col. Frank Reichert from the first scene, inexorably drawing you in as the disciplined father figure these delinquents never had, but desperately needed. He gets these kids. He knows what they need. You are left with no doubt he was one himself.
The genius of Burns' performance deliciously unravels as the atrocities at play in the camp come to light. He leads you teetering on the tightrope of empathy until all Hell breaks loose and then sucks you emotionally down the precipice. Gut-wrenching stuff.
And then there's PJ Boudousque. A young Ryan Gosling, but with greater acting chops and sans the nasally whine. An incredible performance, sublime from start to finish. He subtlety exudes charisma yet without cockiness. You root with him all the way and as he grasps your hand at the stunning climax, even though your instincts may disagree, you can't let go.
Congratulations to all involved in creating this mesmerizing and provocative film
Dave Anthony - Creator/Director of the CALL OF DUTY Video Game Franchise