If the first several minutes of Tze Chun’s Cold Comes the Night have you thinking that the film’s main conflict involves something so simple as a woman named Chloe (Alice Eve) figuring out how to move her daughter from the seedy motel they live in lest Social Services take the girl away, then Bryan Cranston’s Russian accent would like to have a word with you.
The former Walter White’s first post-Breaking Bad role finds him treading tepid water as Topo, a mafioso middleman passing through upstate New York en route to the Canadian border with fading sight and a duffle bag full of cash.
routine delivery goes pear-shaped when his driver dispatches a lady of the evening at Chloe’s motel and Topo enlists the single mother as an unwilling accomplice in recovering the cash from his impounded car.
ensuing action is fairly taut, if also a little weightless; trying circumstances notwithstanding, most of the film’s major happenings are either illogical or, much more damningly, not especially thrilling.
we’ve been given no real reason to invest in these people in a meaningful way, the effect is largely lost as Chun ratchets up the tension and Chloe the pawn becomes self-aware enough to start moving in ways that Topo hadn’t anticipated.
He doesn’t say much throughout all this, but he is given to repeating the truism that “good help is hard to find.” Good movies, too.