'Cold Copy' Review: Tracee Ellis Ross Plays Sinister Bel Powley Role Model in Uneven Journalism Drama

‘Cold Copy’ Review: Tracee Ellis Ross Plays Sinister Bel Powley Role Model in Uneven Journalism Drama

In its general lines, Cool copy it is extremely current. “Journalism is not a calling,” says Tracee Ellis Ross in the opening scene, as seasoned TV interviewer Diane Heger. “She IS a character. It has to be.” She’s not necessarily wrong. Look at a few recent examples, like Tucker Carlson’s leaked text messages disparaging her supposed hero Donald Trump, and it’s easy to see how Roxine Helberg’s first feature could touch a raw nerve. Its screenplay is fascinating in the themes it opens up.The film has vivid performances by Ross, Bel Powley as Diane’s student, Mia Scott and Jacob Tremblay as the subject, and ultimately the victim of Mia’s shoddy journalism. Cool copy it’s also maddening in its lack of focus and missed opportunities.

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Mia, a graduate student taking Diane’s class at an unnamed university, is the focus of the film, and it begins as a study in naivety. Let’s see who Diane is long before Mia does. She is sarcastic and abrasive with her students, she is tough with them maybe because they have to be tough to survive professionally. In a fierce performance, Ross doesn’t soften the edges of the character.

Cool copy

The bottom line

Fascinating subject, scattershot results.

Place: Tribeca Festival (Story in the Spotlight)
Launch: Bel Powley, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jacob Tremblay, Nesta Cooper
Director and screenwriter: Roxine Helberg

1 hour and 31 minutes

Powley conveys a wide-eyed intensity, while Mia pulls off some childish moves. He yells at Diane when she thinks she won’t be allowed into her class (unlikely, it works), and confronts her when her roommate, Kim (Nesta Cooper), gets an internship on Diane’s show, angrily demanding, ” Why her? For all her naïveté, Mia is also ruthless, revealing Kim’s confidential source to undermine her. It’s hard to know if she was always ready to compromise on ethics or if she learned from watching Diane, whose approach is to make her squirm subjects to get reactions on screen, even if she’s trading incendiary rumors.As the story swings between a possible plot of loss of innocence and one about dark trends coming to the surface, Mia seems like a muddled and muddled written character.Powley he can’t get over it.

As Igor Nowak, a teenager who agrees to be the subject of Mia’s test, Tremblay shows his true talent. His role is secondary to that of the two stars, but his character is the more nuanced, his performance wonderfully enigmatic. Sometimes Igor seems more experienced than Mia in journalism, skeptical of her intentions. Her mother was a famous children’s book writer, whose death years earlier had cast an unwelcome media eye on the family. But he’s also vulnerable enough to trust her.

Trusting her is a big mistake we can see coming, and as Mia pieces together a story about the secret of Igor’s mother’s death, the film starts to go off the rails. Desperate to get a story, Mia surreptitiously uses the keys to Igor’s house, moves objects to simulate an explosive camera shot, and photographs a private letter to use in her piece. Fiction doesn’t have to have the right journalism, but Cool copy it crosses the line between unrealistic and absurd. Never mind the immoral invasion of privacy. When Mia walks into the house, you have to ask, “Has she never seen an episode of Law and order?”

Diane’s actions also become ridiculous. She invites Mia over for a drink to prompt her to represent Igor in her report as a troubled young man. “If you act like Igor is fine, he will be fine,” says Diane. And if he’s fine, “where’s the story?” Disregard for truth should be the point, but a minor issue here is very distracting. Take your student for a drink? She has She Have you ever had to take an HR anti-harassment course like everyone else working in an American institution? That drink is presented as an event no one would bat an eye to, non-transgressive on Diane’s part, and it’s one of many small missteps that amount to an increasingly unbelievable story.

Visually, the film is as direct and unremarkable as a regular news report. But at best, it has some galvanizing moments that reveal what he could have said about the media and hint at Helberg’s genuine promise as a filmmaker. A sharply shot and edited flashback montage shows Igor, Mia and Kim dancing in Mia’s apartment, deftly recounting an innocent night that has brutal repercussions. Mia’s report is a perfect clone of a tasteless and exploitative story masquerading as something more serious and noble. And Helberg builds a well-acted killer ending. But ultimately, the film is less about the ostensible themes of journalism and truthfulness with which it begins than about an uneven drama about two people compromised out of control, anomalies who deserve each other.