Warning, spoilers ahead!
As I was catching up with my favorite movie blogs I stumbled upon Alex’s Coldwater review and something clicked right there and then. It felt like one of those movies that makes you wonder passed the movie, further from the plot after the credits roll and at that time, I was looking for something specifically like that. It also helped that the lead actor in Coldwater looks like the younger brother of Ryan Gosling, and as it turns out, his acting skills aren’t far from his doppleganger’s either.
The great thing about the blogging community is the fact that after a certain time you know who you can trust but more importantly, whose taste in movies is the closest to your own. We all have different opinions and likes/dislikes, but there are similarities and I have found that when Alex likes a movie, there’s a 98% of a chance I’ll like it too. So before I even saw Coldwater, I liked it, I experienced it with the idea that I would like it and though sometimes that feeling can backfire, it was not the case this time around.
Coldwater tells a story of a misbehaved boy, Brad (P.J. Boudousquè), who is taken from his home and put amongst other troubled boys in this prison like camp. The guards seem scary, the boys seem innocent, but by the time the movie ends, your preassumptions have been turned upside down. That was my favorite aspect of Coldwater’s story, it presented us with belivable villains in the beginning and it purposly neglected to show us the actual ones until the very end. Sure, there’s no black and white in Coldwater but the violence that takes place in the final act really shows that the boys are there for a reason but that reason was carefully weaved behind the horrors of the camp itself. True, the events in the end are most likely caused and fueled by the camp, but it all simply reflects in the fact that there are no good guys.
Every other character in Coldwater is flawed, there are no heroes and that in fact is a scary realization. The world seems pretty dark and cold based on this movie and when the final words appeared on the screen, in regards to real life events in relation to these types of camps, my emotions got the best of me. No, I did not cry, but I did get mad at the world, really mad because it all felt so unfair. More specifically, we have Brad, a compelling character whose past is revealed piece by piece like a puzzle while he spends his first weeks in the camp. Yes, he has done some morally questionable things and indeed is connected to his girlfriend’s death, but you can tell he blames himself, he is scarred because of it and putting him in that camp doesn’t seem fair.
Though I said there are no good guys in Coldwater, Brad sort of is a good guy, at least he seems to be until the very end when he shoots the colonel in the chest and stages it as suicide. In every other situation I would applaud the hero for killing the bad guy but I’m hesitant to call the leader of the camp the villain. Coldwater is smart like that, it gives us a story with characters that can’t be placed into categories and though the colonel has created a prison like facility, his intentions seem to be coming from deep inside where one would expect to find something good.
I could go on for hours writing about what kind of symbolism this and that situation reflects and how I find Brad and the colonel to be similar, but then I wouldn’t have room to discuss P.J. Boudousquè and his stunning performance. Young Gosling and P.J. look like the same person, almost as if they are carved from the same tree and I want to know where that damn forrest is because I’m gonna get myself a Gosling doppleganger! But looks aren’t everything because without content an actor can’t be belivable but luckily, P.J. stays true to the role and deliveres a debut performance that needs to get more recignition. As for others, there’s nothing specific to fault, everybody does the best to their abilities and since P.J. is the center of attention, Coldwater excels based his performance alone.