Twitter Plot Summary: A nearly blind courier joins forces with a single mother after his associate is murdered at her motel.
Starring Walter White himself, Bryan Cranston, target of geek adoration Alice Eve (following her appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness in not much more than her underwear) and the once and future Penguin (Gotham’s Robin Lord Taylor), Cold Comes The Night tells the story of motel owner Chloe (Eve) who is faced with the forced relocation of her daughter if she is not able to find an alternative place to live. The motel is, to borrow a phrase from Star Wars, a hive of scum and villainy (mostly prostitution) and clearly not the kind of place to be raising a child.
Cranston meanwhile is Topo, a Polish career criminal with failing eyesight who needs to reclaim the money recently misplaced following his most recent job. Chloe becomes his eyes in this quest, and a strange bond begins to form between them. Nothing much closer than one of professional respect, but ultimately proves to be a beneficial thing for both of them, at least in the short term.
The slow pace puts the emphasis on character rather than action, and that is the film’s selling point – besides Bryan Cranston, of course. Both of the main characters are trapped by their circumstances – Chloe with a hotel that she can’t escape from without serious capital investment, and Topo likely to lose his livelihood thanks to his failing eyesight. Both of them are similarly under pressure from the people around them – she from a social worker threatening to take her daughter away, and he from the men he owes money to. Into this mix is crooked cop Billy (an intense Logan Marshall-Green) who has a business interest in the motel (read: he’s a pimp) and doesn’t take kindly to both Chloe talking back at him, and Topo’s interference.
While the pace is relatively slow by thriller standards, the few brief action sequences are well structured and sufficiently tense, more so when you consider Topo’s lack of eyesight. He might be old and on his way out, but the man still has mad skills. It might perhaps be best to avoid discussion about Cranston’s accent however, as it isn’t the best. There’s no doubting his performance besides this, however. Alice Eve puts in a good performance as Chloe, ably demonstrating her conflicting emotions and her gradual ascension towards self sufficiency in the face of adversity. It’s as classic a character journey as you’ll ever get.
Meanwhile, the shocks and twists leading into the finale keep things interesting and all narrative threads are tied up nicely. The relationship between Chloe and her daughter Sophia (a solid turn from youngster Ursula Parker) is believable, however the history between Chloe and bent copper Billy could have benefited from a touch more development earlier on in the narrative before expanding out. It would have also been good to see more of the relationship between Chloe and Topo as it doesn’t get nearly as much time as it deserved. Still, what we are presented with is a decent if mostly unspectacular thriller.