Cold War is the sickest rom-com in years as the indie comedy kicks off the 2018 Midwest Independent Film Festival with a wave, or sickness mind you, of laughter.
Written by J. Wilder Konschak, who co-directs with Stirling McLaughlin, Cold War stars an impressive array of talent–many of who have a background in improvisation–including Michael Blaiklock, Madeline Walter, Antoine McKay, Gail Rastorfer, Kenneth Yoder, Rammel Chan, Antoine Pierre Whitfield, Sara Sevigny, and Scarlett Harper.
Maggie (Walter) and Jonathan (Blaiklock) had just moved in together and and the two of them have been cursed with what can easily be described as the worst flu strain in years. Maggie was at work treating a patient when she first showed symptoms of contracting the Raccoon Flu. It’s not until being sick forces them to really examine their relationship with being stuck at home together for a week. The differences between the two of them really start to come out after being stuck at home for so long.
How is it possible for two people to be in love and yet be so different in the small things? While the film is hilarious in general, there’s the random joke or two that feel a bit forced and don’t quite work that well–such as early on after the move when Jon is suggesting couple nicknames as if they’re actual celebrities. Then there are the jokes that anyone in a relationship–or has ever slept with another person on a hotel bed–can relate to: basic bed etiquette when it comes to the sheets and covers.
Maybe it’s different in other doctor’s offices but whenever I’ve come in to complain of flu-like symptoms, I’ve never had to go fully unclothed while being tested. The film could have honestly done without the one brief glimpse of full-frontal nudity but other than that, it’s a laugh riot watching the couple not only deal with the flu but with their own relationship issues. Perhaps Cold War Therapy is next on the agenda?
How close is too close when it comes to a couple in love and under the weather? Ultimately, this is what Konschak guns for in the screenplay, offering one of the most daring–yet fresh–looks at the romantic comedy genre. Cold War is, hands down, the sickest rom-com in years and audiences will devour every single minute of it! What plays to the advantage of co-directors Konschak and McLaughlin is the talented improv background of their cast—stay for the credits because there’s a load of outtakes not to be missed out on.
On the acting side, actress Madeline Walter is absolutely phenomenal as she takes on the role of Maggie, a nurse who contracts Racoon Flu. Playing sick is one of those things has to feel authentic on screen rather than feel forced and she just amazes by crushing her performance in Cold War. Both her and Blaiklock have on-screen chemistry but the improv veteran delivers a star-turning performance.
Cold War is still playing the festival circuit and is currently awaiting distribution.
Premiering at the 2017 Los Angeles Comedy Festival, Cold War makes its Chicago premiere at the 2018 Midwest Independent Film Festival.