Cold Comes the NightCultureCinemaMovie reviews
When a down-on-her-luck single mother crosses paths with an aging, sight- impaired Russian gangster, the two form an uneasy partnership to pursue a common goal. That’s the premise behind new crime thriller Cold Comes the Night, directed by Tze Chun.
If a criminal suffering from cataracts doesn’t sound all that menacing, the role is given an instant credibility boost by the casting of Bryan Cranston, “the one who knocks” – or in this case, the one who rings the bell for assistance. Cranston plays opposite Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), who has traded deep space adventures to manage a seedy motel in a backwater town. As Chloe, Eve must move out of said motel (a haven for drug deals and prostitution) before social services take her daughter away.
When a turn of events separates Cranston’s character, Topo, from a million dollars of mobster money, he forces Chloe to help him reunite with his payload under threat of “being shot, dead”. The refreshing twist is that Chloe is no helpless captive; she’s been collecting kickbacks from the pros that use her motel and sees her new imposition as an opportunity to finally scrape together enough cash to leave town.
Unfortunately, the curious elements of a half-blind killer and capable victim are all too quickly overshadowed by the usual crime-thriller shortcomings. Lapses in logic, hard to believe situations, unconvincing changes of heart and characters talking when they should be shooting quickly combine to stale any fresh angles.
The most disappointing aspect of Cold Comes the Night is, surprisingly, Cranston, who is trapped in a one-dimensional cliché. It’s hard to tell what attracted him to the role – perhaps the deeply talented actor needed a break from playing complex, immersive characters; perhaps he just wanted a crack at a Ruski accent. In any case, as Topo, Cranston’s considerable abilities are underutilised. Furthermore, Chun never adequately explores the potential of the character’s eye condition. Any inconvenience it actually does cause could easily be substituted for a more commonplace plot device.
Cold Comes the Night has promise on paper, but on the screen it plays as dull as the grey town that is the film’s backdrop. Eve does what she can ping-ponging between prey and accomplice, and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) gives an entertaining performance as an unhinged, crooked cop. However, Cold Comes the Night lacks ingenuity and is ultimately unsatisfying.
Cold Comes the Night is released in selected cinemas on 20th September 2013.
Watch the trailer for Cold Comes the Night here: