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|Cold Comes the Night
dir Tze Chun
prd Mynette Louie, Trevor Sagan
scr Tze Chun, Osgood Perkins, Nick Simon
with Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green, Ursula Parker, Leo Fitzpatrick, Erin Cummings, Robin Taylor, Sarah Sokolovic, Marceline Hugot, Esau Pritchett, Stephen Sheffer, Robert Prescott
release UK 20.Sep.13
Desperate measures: Cranston and Eve
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
This dark-themed thriller is strikingly well-made, with a strong cast and a nice sense of its rural setting. But while we get involved in the twisty series of violent events, it's difficult to find a point where we can identify with the characters or understand why we should be watching their story.
Hotel manager Chloe (Eve) is in trouble with social services for raising her young daughter Sophia (Parker) in such a seedy place. But she hasn't saved enough to move, even though she gets a cut of what the prostitutes earn. Then the shady Topo (Cranston) arrives. An nearly blind thug who has lost his assistant, he forces Chloe to help him recover the package he needs to deliver. It's been stolen by local cop Billy (Marshall-Green), who has a twisted past with Chloe. And Billy's wife (Cummings) really doesn't like her coming round.
Set in late autumn along a highway not far from the US-Canada border, the film captures the small-town isolation, as no one seems to be bothered with whatever these people get up to. Except the social worker who shakes things up. Eve plays Chloe as a steely young woman whose desperation is balanced by a tenacity that everyone underestimates. With nothing to lose, she's free to stand up to this gun-toting gangster and negotiate a price.
Opposite Eve, Cranston has terrific presence as the Eastern European goon who isn't willing to give up his job just because he can't see. He cleverly underplays the quiet concentration and rumbling voice, which makes him even more menacing. By contrast, Marshall-Green's Billy is frantic, a crooked cop in way over his head. As these three circle around each other, our interest lies mainly in wondering who will get out alive.
Filmmaker Chun cranks up the intensity from the start, as we witness what Chloe does to survive and how she works to maintain Sophia's innocence. It's beautifully shot and expertly edited, both icy and emotionally intriguing. But the script never bothers to explore the ethics, morality or the rampant greed that drives everyone on screen. These people seem to have unusually empty lives on just about every level, which leaves the film feeling rather hollow too.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S
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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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