(2000)3.5Craig ButlerA Storm in Summer is a powerful "social issues" drama that features a sterling lead performance by Peter Falk. While it feels somewhat dated, this has less to do with the social problems it handles -- which are still relevant -- than with the manner in which it approaches them. Rod Serling's meticulously crafted screenplay is an absolute marvel of construction, but it was written in 1970, and it feels like it; this is not necessarily bad, as the work has the convictions of its times, but it also, occasionally, comes across as a trifle simplistic here, a little manipulative there. Fortunately, Serling was an expert at writing for television dramas such as this; just when a speech starts to veer into a gooey patch, he throws in a disarming turn of phrase or a perfectly-crafted sentence that quickly and unexpectedly adds depth to the character speaking. Robert Wise directs Serling's work with his usual professionalism and sensitivity and has gathered together an exceptional cast. The film rises or falls, of course, on the two leads, and Falk and Aaron Meeks deserve a large share of the credit for making Storm so compelling. Meeks does exceptional work for such a young actor, and he and Falk have an invaluable chemistry. For his part, Falk grabs hold of the role from the first moment and never lets go, clearly relishing the chance of playing a part that allows him to demonstrate just how much he is capable of. He's believably cranky, neither endearingly nor unremittingly, and he makes the breaking down of his wall entirely credible.