Sherlock Holmes & The Ice Factory

Sherlock Holmes & The Ice Factory

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Axiom Films 

Release date: May 23rd 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 96 minutes

Director/Writer: Aaron Katz

cast: Cris Lankenau, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Raul Castillo, Robyn Rikoon

Official Movie Site

Entering an abandoned motel room in the middle of the night searching for clues to find someone who’s mysteriously disappeared might be a fantastical scenario many of us have secretly played with.

The idea of detective work is indeed an exciting one and fiction has utilised – and exploited – the concept countless times in order to please an audience trying to escape the dullness of everyday life.

Aaron Katz’s mystery film Cold Weather does that in a twisted kind of way.

Cold Weather

We get the idea almost right away when the general tone is set by a dream that is broken almost certainly beyond repair. The film’s somewhat lazy and unmotivated protagonist Doug (Cris Lankenau), having studied forensic science, moves in with his sister Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn) and is making a shrewd carreer move by getting a job in an ice factory.

It’s quickly revealed that Doug’s choice of this particular scientific field was inspired by a fairly childish love for legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. He admits to being bored with his internship in the very first scene to his parents – Doug is more interested in fiction than he is in the real deal.

After a slow but engaging start, Doug is suddenly thrown right in the middle of the real deal. Setting, pace and characters all lead us to believe that Cold Weather is a social realist film about the struggles in finding meaning and purpose in life, until suddenly, there’s a mystery that requires nothing less than the great Sherlock Holmes himself.


  • Director’s Commentary
  • Alternate Ending
  • Live performance by Composer Keegan Dewitt
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Needless to say, this makes a failed forensic science student the best candidate for the role of Detective Holmes.

The core idea for Cold Weather is simple and effective: take a group of somewhat flawed everyday people, give them a mystery and enjoy the inept ways they follow one clue to the next. As Doug and his sister Gail investigate the sudden disappearance of his ex-girlfriend Rachel (Robyn Rikoon), we are reminded of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) as they comically stumble upon their own mystery in New York.

Cold Weather

The characters and relationships can make or break a movie like Cold Weather and Aaron Katz created ones we can believe in. He puts the focus on the siblings and this wonderfully melancholic relationship often takes the spotlight from the plot even at its most heightened points. Trieste Kelly Dunn is especially good as Gail; gently pushing her childish brother towards getting a job and thinking more ambitiously about his future while she also ponders through life without knowing what she really wants from tomorrow.

The plot itself is also a plausible one and its realistic characters make a fairly simple act like stealing a briefcase very tense and exciting. I was surprised to see the siblings’ lack of interest in its content though. Apart from a rather abrupt ending and a few misplaced musical elements, Cold Weather is a very funny and entertaining off-beat approach to an intriguing mystery with engaging characters.

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