Hot Summer Nights (2017) – Review

In the summer of 1991, a reclusive and sheltered teenage boy called Daniel (Timothee Chalamet) comes of age during the wild few months he spends on Cape Cod in the United States, gaining money from selling marijuana to anybody that would buy the product. Daniel falls in love for the first time and spends the majority of his time partying, before eventually realising that he is in over his head. Hot Summer Nights was released in 2017 and stands out as one of the finest releases of that year.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Elijah Bynum
Writers: Elijah Bynum
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Alex Roe, Maika Monroe

Genuinely good coming of age stories seem to be few and far between as of late, with American Honey (2016) and more recently The Tender Bar (2021) being the last couple to really stand out in my eyes. With that being said, Hot Summer Nights seemed to come across well, especially with its ability to mix a multitude of genres into the one-hundred and seven-minute runtime. Action, crime, drama, light humour and even a sprinkle of romance were included, with a perfectly suited, predominantly 1980’s soundtrack thrown into the mix too. There were even some accurate cultural references to the 80’s and 90’s, which were sure to provide nostalgia for some viewers.

I can certainly understand those that adored the appearance and production level of the film, especially the cinematography, filming locations and some of the vintage cars that were on display, but there was a more gritty and serious side to the flick as well, especially as the runtime wore on. There were some extremely dark, disturbing and threatening scenes included, that ended up straying away from the free-spirited and romanticised foundations that it had previously laid.

One minor flaw, however, was the sound mixing. Whether this was just the version of the movie I watched or whether this spread across the entire batch of production is another question. At times the dialogue was impossible to comprehend, which was frustrating as this was very much a dialogue heavy flick.

In terms of the cast, Timothee Chalamet starred as Daniel, the lead role, while support was primarily provided by Alex Roe and Maika Monroe who portrayed Hunter and McKayle, respectively. One thing worth noting would be the fact that some characters certainly deserved more onscreen presence than they were credited with – the two characters springing to mind being Dex and Shep, portrayed by Emory Cohen and William Fichtner.

All in all, Hot Summer Nights came across as a thoroughly enjoyable journey, which may have been a little too serious for its own good at times. It’s also worth noting that the flick manages to boast a rather impressive poster, one of the most appealing I’ve come across for quite some time.

“I can’t get her out of my mind…”

Daniel – Hot Summer Nights

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