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Blu-ray Review: 'Cold Comes the Night'

Bryan Cranston and Alice Eve in "Cold Comes the Night"
Bryan Cranston and Alice Eve in "Cold Comes the Night"
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The Film:

Tze Chun’s “Cold Comes the Night” is a film that you’re unlikely to remember five minutes after it’s over. There is absolutely nothing distinctive or memorable about it, leading the audience to believe that it was assembled from old spare parts of thrillers that were just lying around and which didn’t necessarily go together. The generic story focuses on Chloe (Alice Eve), a single mother trying to run a hotel in a dangerous part of town and take care of her young daughter. She’s struggling just to get by, and to make things worse, child protective services is threatening to take her daughter away if she doesn’t move to a safer area. Meanwhile, we also follow the mysterious Topo (Bryan Cranston), who is traveling to an unknown destination with his nephew. They stop to stay at Chloe’s hotel, but that very night certain circumstances result in the death of the nephew and their car being impounded by the police. Compelled by these circumstances, Topo forcefully enlists the help of Chloe to get a very important package out of the car, threatening to hurt her daughter if she doesn’t cooperate. However, this seemingly simple task becomes more complicated as the long night wears on.

“Generic” is really the right word for this entire endeavor. A cash mule needs to recover his money, threatening to harm a defenseless young woman and her daughter if they don’t help him. To make it even more clichéd, the young woman is at risk of losing her daughter due to poor living conditions. This plot simply doesn’t make for a compelling or engaging experience, nor do we even come close to caring about what happens to any of these characters. Taking a look at the performances, Alice Eve does a fine job as a woman desperately trying to protect her daughter, but the big disappointment here is Bryan Cranston. Known for his brilliant work in “Breaking Bad,” when I learned of his involvement, I thought he would at least make it a worthwhile experience, but as soon as he started speaking on screen, all hope was lost. For some bizarre reason, his character is written as a Russian, despite it having nothing to do with the plot. This forces Cranston to put on a ridiculous accent for the entire film. His character was already incredibly low-key, but this just goes to make him even blander. The plot and characters all appear to be consequences of a group of writers that just didn’t have a single iota of originality among the three of them, and as a result, it’s simply not worth your time.

Video/Audio:

“Cold Comes the Night” is presented in a 1.78:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of varying quality. There are times when the picture is decently sharp, but there are also times when it has a look of fuzziness to it, particularly in the nighttime scenes, and given that most of the film takes place at night, it’s something you have to put up with a lot. The film has a very drab look to it in the first place, so it certainly doesn’t do the film any favors. On the other hand, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is of pretty good quality. All sounds are loud and clear, including the dialogue and score, so at least there’s nothing to complain about on that front.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes: About seven minutes of deleted/alternate scenes that add absolutely nothing to the story. Not particularly worth watching.

Conclusion:

They clearly didn’t even try with the special features here, leaving off any “Making of” featurettes, commentaries, and interviews, and instead just including a few deleted scenes that aren’t even wroth the time to watch. Not that any amount of great extras could have helped this become a recommendable release, it’s just rather surprising to see this level of laziness. What we have here is a case of a dud film that the studio just didn’t know what to do with. They tried to dump it into a few theaters in January, where nobody went to see it, and then quickly get it out on Blu-ray, where the outlook is just as bleak. This resulted in a rushed release of a bad film, and so, as before, you can continue to ignore its existence.

Score: 2/5

Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.

Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Gravity, Mr. Nobody, The Americans: Season One, Hellbenders, Rocky: Heavyweight Collection, Chicago: Diamond Edition, All is Lost, Austenland, How I Live Now, Night of the Demons, Witchboard, Dallas Buyers Club, The Fifth Estate, Captain Phillips, You're Next, A Single Shot, Insidious: Chapter 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Now playing in theaters: Pompeii, Labor Day, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Also be sure to check out my lists of the Best and Worst Films of 2013.

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