Director Justin Oakey has been one to watch since his blood feud family drama Riverhead hit FIN two years ago.
His pot-boiler slow-burn style is deeply effective, and he gives his actors room to breathe. The way Oakey tells a story is weaving and purposed.
Much in the same way I enjoyed Riverhead, A Fire In The Cold Season is a crime drama that leaves room for silence and more tender moments, and that makes Oakey’s film that much better.
Though there are issues with pacing, Oakey can be forgiven because the performances are top-notch. In the lead, Stephen Oates is muted and effective. Much in the way other, Canadian boy gone Hollywood Ryan Gosling uses his presence and intonations to show emotion, Oates has a presence whether he has dialogue or not.
But it’s Michaela Kurimsky, who impressed in this year’s Firecrackers, who crackles as the pregnant woman trying to escape her deceased gangster boyfriend’s old debts.
Oates plays a lonely trapper who finds the boyfriend’s body, and lands himself in deep as he tries to protect the woman from outlaws deadset on regaining the debts of a deceased man.
As with Oakey’s other work, it all ends in melancholic, difficult fashion, and it’s an incredibly effective climax.
Oakey is one to watch, even if Cold Season doesn’t have the dramatic heft of Riverhead. But if you’re looking for some feature drama from a Maritime boy, this is your ticket. He’s a Newfoundlander who knows how to weave a tale.