Judge Daryl Loomis owns a separate pair of sunglasses, keeping him tough, stylish, and functional.
She found a fortune. He found a target.
Once upon a time, there was this actor named Bryan Cranston, who I saw as just some TV dad like any other. Then, this show called Breaking Bad started and I heard it was really good, but because it started this TV dad, I didn't watch it for a long time. When I watched Drive, though, I realized that in fact he was not just any TV dad, but a very convincing actor. So I finally watched that show everybody was talking about and, sure enough, I had never been so wrong about an actor in my life. Cranston is a phenomenal talent and—as is incredibly clear in Cold Comes the Night—has the ability to raise the bar of those around him.
Facts of the Case
Chloe (Alice Eve, Men in Black 3) is a hard-luck single mom who raises her daughter Sophia (Ursula Parker, Louie) while running a no-tell motel frequented by dealers and whores. CPS has deemed such an environment unsuitable for an 8-year-old for some reason and are threatening to put her in foster care when, one night, there's a murder and it turns out that it's the driver for Topol (Cranston), a nearly blind killer on a job to deliver a bag of money to some Quebecois gangsters. When the cops impound the car as evidence, Topol forces Chloe to retrieve the money, which is in the car, at threat of Sophia's life, she sees her opportunity to start a new life by pocketing a little for herself. But if there's one thing you shouldn't do, it's rip off a killer.
Cold Comes the Night is an interesting movie that starts out really great, but peters out by the end. Cranston is fantastic as the blind psychopath, delivering all the pathos of his handicap while still being a disgusting maniac who will threaten a woman by describing the various places her brains will have splattered for her daughter to find when she is awakened by the gun blast. Some might quibble with the veracity of his Russian accent, but I don't really care about stuff like that. Cranston's super scary in the role; he makes menacing look so easy and writer/director Tze Chun (Children of Invention) does it without making the blind killer some kind of Zatoichi-like superhero. The blindness and his attempts to keep it from his employers is a major impediment to his work, which is why he has to conscript Chloe in the first place.
Alice Eve works really well with Cranston. They have a good chemistry that's nice and tense; he's ruthless, but underestimates her. She's a crook and proves the resolve that her desperation causes over and over again. It's a well-written character and her performance is strong next to Cranston's. The intense conversations they have make the first two-thirds really fun to watch. Then, the movie basically falls apart.
At a point, Topol leaves the story and Cranston's powers become incredibly clear. Once he's gone, it's left to Eve and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), who plays Chloe's corrupt cop ex-boyfriend, to carry the weight and it doesn't work at all. Marshall-Green tries to match Cranston in his craziness, but it comes across like a kid brother play acting. He wildly overplays his hand and it brings the movie way down. Things perk up a little bit at the very end, but it's already too late by then.
Tze Chun shows himself to be a talented young director. Cold Comes the Night isn't a super-stylish thriller, but it's got enough going on to make it visually interesting most of the time. The writing isn't perfect, as is clearly seen from the third act, but it's fairly snappy at times and he may be a director to watch for the future.
The Blu-ray from Sony performs well. Cold Comes the Night is a fairly good looking film and the 1.78:1/1080p image transfer does it justice. The detail is excellent across the board with deep black levels, bright, clean whites, and cold but accurate colors. The lossless 5.1 Master Audio track is excellent, as well, though it's a dialog-heavy film that doesn't give it a lot of work to do. Gunshots are bright, though, and the music sounds good, so technically, the disc excels. Unfortunately, the only extra is four deleted scenes that add next to nothing to the rest of the story.
Were it not for Bryan Cranston, I couldn't see recommending Cold Comes the Night very strongly, but the strength of his performance alone makes the movie well worth watching. The story gets mired in the final act, but the rest is tense, exciting, and works really well so, all in all, it's a net positive.
Not perfect, but not guilty.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
• Deleted Scenes
Review content copyright © 2014 Daryl Loomis; Site design and review layout copyright © 2015 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.