Vincent Grashaw

review coldwater

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to strangers who pull you from your bed, handcuff you and put a cloth sack over your head. The last thing you hear as they toss you screaming into the back of a van is your mother saying “I love you.” This is how we meet Brad Lunders (P.J. Boudousqué). He’s a teenager mired in a life of drug dealing and other criminal acts, and after a recent incident that resulted in a death his mother has chosen an extreme option intended to keep Brad out of jail. He’s been shipped off to a “residential treatment program for troubled youths,” but while that sounds like a professional and responsibly run place, it just may be anything but. Coldwater is a beautifully acted and shot drama about troubled kids forced to grow up quickly by even more troubled adults. It’s an engaging eye-opener that moves from dramatic character piece to minor thriller, but while successful overall it’s deflated by the script’s structural problems and minimal emotion.

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Last’s year most buzzed about indie flick, Bellflower, introduced us to a whole new cadre of up-and-coming talent, including writer and director Evan Glodell and his co-stars Tyler Dawson and Jessie Wiseman, but there was another essential driving force behind the production – producer Vincent Grashaw. If you’re familiar with Bellflower, you’re likely also familiar with the hands-on nature of the production, one that entailed that just about everyone involved had to do more than just their standard job description. Grashaw was one of those people, and he and Glodell were even nominated for a John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards in reflection of that. Like Glodell, Grashaw has done a number of different projects in front of and behind the camera – from acting to directing to writing, even editing – and he’s now lined up to make his feature directorial debut with Coldwater. According to Variety, Grashaw has also written the film’s script with Mark Penney, one that centers on “the stark realities behind juvenile rehabilitation in the U.S.” and that “follows a teenage boy’s struggle inside a wilderness boot camp, where a retired war colonel and his counselors break inmates’ spirits to correct delinquent behavior.” 

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