Review: 'The Cold Lands'

Silas Yelich and Peter Scanavino in Tom Gilroy’s indie flick set in the Catskill Mountainsm "The Cold Lands."

When an 11-year-old boy's mother dies, he abandons his country home and takes to the woods where he meets a stoner drifter.

Set in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, Tom Gilroy's The Cold Lands stars Lili Taylor as the mother Nicole, Silas Yelich as her son Atticus and Peter Scanavino as the stoner, Carter.

Nicole's not well. She teaches Atticus to be sell-sufficient, so when Nicole suddenly passes away, he follows her words. Rather than be taken into foster care, Atticus disappears as search parties look for him. It's Atticus and a bunch of hunters until he runs into Carter, a hippie dude who grows pot on "the cold lands," a nickname for the Catskills.

Carter knows who Atticus is from the Wanted signs plastered all over the area, but instead of turning him in, he brings Atticus to a music festival where they sell jewelry and Carter doses on Ecstasy.

Not a lot happens in this indie flick. We never see Carter's plants (we, however, do see his weed in the glove compartment and he does smoke a joint) and Atticus just hangs out. It's small story with no major resolution. Is Carter's a creep or a good guy trying to show the kid a fun time? Sooner or later the party for Atticus has to end, just not in The Cold Lands.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.