Aaron Katz’s filmmaking career is proof that bigger isn’t better—at least in the movie business.
Despite a budget of only around $100,000, one of his newer films, “Cold Weather,” has received critical acclaim from Roger Ebert and the New York Times, while also maintaining an admirable 78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
To put it into perspective, the big-budget, “Bay-blockbuster” “Transformers: Age of Extinction” cost around $210 million to make (That’s 2,200 Aaron Katz films!).
And in the end, after all those millions of dollars, “Transformers” received only an 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
So how could Katz do so much with so little? The answer is simple: mumblecore.
Mumblecore, a fairly recent development in the film world, is defined as a low-budget, independent film with amateur actors and partially unscripted dialogue.
With “Cold Weather,” Katz gives the growing mumblecore genre a good name.
His film focuses on the spooky, mysterious disappearance of main character Doug’s ex-girlfriend.
Ultimately, it’s a classic mystery story in which Doug plays the role of a pedestrian Sherlock Holmes.
However, “Cold Weather” also includes all the bits and pieces filmmakers usually leave out.
We see Doug loading ice at his new factory job. We see Doug drinking with his friends. We see Doug living.
The result is a hyper-realistic, documentary-esque film.
The mumblecore style may be slow, but it’s damn interesting.
After Doug discovered that Rachel had disappeared, it felt as if I were peering into a looking glass, spying on their lives.
The characters feel so real with the un-cinematic camerawork, lifelike pacing, and improvised lines.
And as soon as Katz’s got the audience mixing fiction up with reality, he’s succeeded in hooking the viewers.
There’s no action or extreme suspense throughout the film to keep you hooked—instead, Katz makes you feel like Doug is someone you know and care for.
That ability is rare, and “Cold Weather” deserves to be recognized for it.
So as summer ends and the slow Sacramento winter begins, watch “Cold Weather.” It’s a movie fit for a rainy day.