Movie Review: Tom Gilroy wrote and directed “The Cold Lands”, his sophomore feature film and a sensitive drama that could have been set up differently for better. The story follows Atticus, a 13-year-old boy who lives in upstate New York with his controlling mother, Nicole, in very peculiar conditions. Atticus shows to be a lonely boy, without friends of his age around to play, and dependent of his strict mother who lives concerned about his education, limiting his scope of action. Nicole was already giving some signs of being sick, but when she dies unexpectedly, Atticus runs to the forest in shock. He starts imagining the rebukes of his mother, and frequently observes other apparently happy families – ‘do you think you would be happy living like this?’, his mother asks in his head. In one of the nights spent in the forest, he bumps into Carter, an elusive drifter whose main concern is watering his pot plants. An improbable friendship will arise and Atticus seems to adapt in perfection to his new wandering life, snapping out of the torpor he was in. Wyatt Garfield’s cinematography ended up being the strongest aspect of “The Cold Lands”, whose approach would have achieved better results if less idyllic and contemplative and more compelling, penetrating even more into the characters, and providing a more resolved pace in order to excel. In spite of observant and well acted, Gilroy’s drama is only half-satisfying, lacking boldness in its script and failing to stir any true emotion.