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Review

COLD COMES THE NIGHT. A tension-packed thriller

The plot of Cold Comes the Night doesn’t impress with innovation.

EDITORIAL team

26 January 2024

COLD COMES THE NIGHT. A tension-packed thriller

It revolves around a bag filled with money that went missing during an operation and the people searching for the bag. However, it is one of those films where the plot is treated by the creators as a pretext. It is one of those movies that captivates with its atmosphere, acting, and meticulous details. Cold Comes the Night is simply an example of top-notch craftsmanship.

Cold Comes the Night focuses on the life of Chloe (Alice Eve) – a single mother trying to raise her daughter in unfavorable conditions, as she runs a suspicious motel in a small town. Chloe is struggling financially and cannot move with her daughter Sophia (Ursula Parker) to a normal home. Therefore, social services are breathing down her neck, threatening to take away her daughter. One night, two men appear at the motel. One of them gets killed, and we learn that the victim had hidden money in the impounded car. The partner of the murdered man – Topo (Bryan Cranston) – devises a plan to retrieve the loot.

Cold Comes the Night Alice Eve

The strength of the script lies not in the story itself, but rather in the ease with which the writer treated his characters. They play a crucial role in Tze Chun’s film. We get the impression that the plot is of little importance to them. The unpredictable development of the characters, who seem to flow along with the story, is surprising. Initially, it may seem like we are watching a clichéd thriller with paper-thin characters, but soon we acknowledge the creators who manage to surprise us during the screening. In addition to the excellent performances by Eve and Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green, playing the character of Billy – a dirty cop, a not entirely honest policeman who likes to help his own luck – also deserves praise.

Cold Comes the Night Bryan Cranston

Despite the reheated plot, the film exudes constant tension. This is evidence that the story itself does not have a monopoly on building suspense. Tze Chun keeps us in check in a different way – with understatement. In the shootout scene in the car with tinted windows, he doesn’t show what’s happening inside. The camera stays outside. We only see the shaking car, hear the shots, and watch in suspense as bullet holes appear. Some plotlines and character stories are also left unexplained. We get characters as the camera finds them at a given moment. We enter their lives, but no one explains, no one confides, and no one tells their story. Therefore, everything in Cold Comes the Night is authentic and devoid of exaggeration. The framing composition, based on temporal inversion – the film opens with a disturbing scene, the explanation of which we only learn at the end – also gives a feeling of understatement. The director relies more on editing and visual framing suspense than on classical storytelling, which appears here and there. The creators also play with surprise. I don’t mean plot twists, but rather the ability to create the right circumstances and atmosphere for a scene in such a way as to shake the viewer to the maximum with another intriguing move of the characters.

Cold Comes the Night Alice Eve

Sitting down to watch Cold Comes the Night, I couldn’t help but wonder about one thing. How will Bryan Cranston, who is ingrained in the minds of millions as Walter White from the record-breaking popular Breaking Bad, fare? I had the answer ready after a dozen minutes. Indeed, Bryan Cranston heisenbergs. Heisenbergs pleasantly. On the one hand, the creators try to camouflage it as much as they can – they endow the character with a Russian accent and other traits that differentiate him from the character in the series. But this is just cosmetic, because on the other hand, they seem unabashedly to admit that they are milking Cranston for what remains of his characteristic emploi. I burst out laughing at the last shot of Cranston in the film. Take a look. See for yourself. Does anything come to mind? Or is it just a coincidence? I thought I was becoming paranoid when Chloe’s daughter, wanting to play the children’s game “I spy,” recited when the camera rested on Cranston: “I spy with my little eye something white.” So yes – Bryan Cranston is the same ruthless bastard we can admire in Breaking Bad. Just a bit different… But is that bad?

Cold Comes the Night Bryan Cranston

Cold Comes the Night is primarily well-written and well-played characters, a tension-packed thriller, and technically proficient cinema. A must-see for Cranston and Heisenberg fans.

Words by Milosz Drewniak

EDITORIAL team

EDITORIAL team

We're movie lovers who write for other movie lovers!

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