Accountant David (David Linski) is hectored by sour-faced girlfriend Susan (Catherine Annette) as they make their way across country for a weekend break at a friend's remote cabin.
Upon arrival, they walk in on tattooed Len (Nick Principe) shagging pregnant partner Gigi (Nikki Bohm). Assuming there's been some mix-up, David and Susan reluctantly accept Len's offer for them to stay anyway, in the spare bedroom. As Len explains, his car broke down and they're stuck there until the morning after.
Susan in particular is suspicious of this scenario but puts it to the back of her mind as she and David retire to their room for sex. Later that evening, they become concerned about their fellow guests and fret that they're going to steal their car. It seems their suspicions are confirmed when they realise Len has locked them in their bedroom.
Susan manages to escape through the bedroom window, running straight into Len and Gigi at the cabin's front door. It's here that it transpires that Len and Gigi are lovers on the run following a heist that's gone wrong. One of their accomplices lies upstairs badly injured from a gunshot wound; they've been told to hide out in the (supposed to be empty) cabin and wait for their other pal, psychotic Mo (Haris Mahic).
Of course, David and Susan fear that they will now be killed in order for the crooks to protect their identities. They take time to reassess their own relationship. They try to escape. They try to reason with their captors. They try to get the better of them and turn the tables. The balance of power shifts continually as a result between the hostages and their panicked aggressors.
And that really is all there is to NOBODY CAN COOL.
Written, produced and directed by DPYX (not a rapper, but actually a team comprising of Marcy Boyle and Rachel Holzman: this is their first film while at the time of writing they're currently making a documentary on Debra Hill), the film is well-shot and edited but never seems to get going.
The music consists of droning noises akin to fingers rimming glasses and the sound then being slowed down. It seems to me to be at loggerheads with the chatty screenplay. Principe is a good actor with great presence (LAID TO REST, for example) and he brings a great deal of personality to what may have been a one-dimensional role. However, as a consequence his character doesn't threaten when he really should. The tension is non-existent throughout which, considering the economic single-location setting and small cast, is a grave problem. Also, I couldn't help but feel that the two actresses could've done with swapping roles: Annette's cold demeanour would have been better suited to playing the criminal's moll, while Bohm struck me as having the warmer persona and therefore probably would've won my sympathy more as the protagonist. Speaking of Bohm, I may have imagined it but I'm sure her accent suddenly changed without explanation around the 63-minute mark?!
It's not that NOBODY CAN COOL is bad. As mentioned earlier in this review, it's actually highly proficient in terms of technical prowess. The actors are all decent. But there's no threat, no menace, no air of suspense. Everything feels oddly subdued, considering the pressure-cooker setting. And some of the reactions to situations are ridiculous. Oh and there are very few twists - something I was convinced was going to redeem the film in the long run.
There is one good scene midway through where Susan has temporarily got the better of Len and has a gun pointed at him. She needs to go to the toilet at that moment and, as she relieves herself, they both start to get the giggles. Yes, that's the best part of the film. The only other bit that made me sit up and pay attention was an unexpected lack of sentimentality towards the very end of the film (I can't discuss it further for obvious spoiler reasons).
NOBODY CAN COOL comes to UK DVD fully uncut courtesy of those nice people at Left Films.
The film looks spectacular in a 16x9 transfer that respects the original 1.78:1 ratio. Colours are accurate, detail is defined and deep, blacks are solid: there is no cause for complaint here at all.
English audio comes in choices of 2.0 and 5.1 soundtracks. The latter has the edge in terms of keen representation of the film's impressive sound design, thanks to acute channel separation. However, both are reliably robust propositions.
A static main menu page kicks things off. An animated scene selection menu allows access to the film via 9 chapters.
Bonus features consist of an original trailer (2 minutes in length), a 55-second teaser and a 2-minute featurette which serves as the rules to a drinking game you can play while viewing the film. Essentially, you're invited to drink - responsibly - each time a character either tells another to shut up, or yells "fuck you!"
We also get trailers for ZOMBIE RESURRECTION, BLOOD CAR, INVOKED and DARKEST DAY. As well as being listed as extras, the latter two previews also play automatically as the disc loads up.
NOBODY CAN COOL has a fine cast, a script that strives to inject moments of dark humour into its classic scenario, and is expertly shot. But it still feels flat in thriller terms. It just doesn't excite.
What a shame, as it looks great on Left Films' DVD.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Left Films|
|see main review|