September 24th, 2013
It's a pity that most reviews of Cold Comes the Night spent much of their time discussing the presence of Bryan Cranston and what a shame it was that this film didn't provide him with a part of the calibre of Breaking Bad's Walter White. No question about it, Cranston delivers a professional, solid performance as a Russian criminal undergoing something of a professional crisis even before he finds himself forced to improvise when his partner gets himself killed en route to delivering a large sum of cash to their bosses. The thing is, it's Alive Eve who excels here in the starring role as a single mother bringing up her daughter in an insalubrious part of town in a low-income job. The social services threaten that she'll lose her daughter to foster care within a fortnight if she doesn't take steps to improve her living situation, and then a volley of shots in the night brings Cranston's determined, ruthless but oddly vulnerable mobster to her door and everyone finds themselves doing what they must. What follows is a twisty ride through noirish territory as things go to hell for pretty much all our main characters over the next couple of days.
I've only seen Alice Eve in a couple of films but never got a sense before this that she was much more than another pretty blonde object of desire for the male protagonist to pursue, but in this she's easily the equal of Bryan Cranston, and of Logan Marshall-Green as a bent policeman with whom Eve's character shares a past. Actually, compared to the last time I saw them on screen,1 the performances from Eve and Marshall-Green served to remind me that even capable actors can only do so much in supporting roles when faced with a so-so script and a disappointing story.
Don't get me wrong, nobody on this film is likely to be drafting an Oscar acceptance speech next February as a consequence of their work here. Even so, a solid cast, a seedy storyline and a sharp script can still make for a quietly satisfying little story. Cold Comes the Night doesn't seem to be getting wide distribution at the moment, but it's certainly worth a look if it comes your way.