"Breaking Bad" fans still in mourning over the conclusion of the beloved AMC show will have a good reason to check out "Cold Comes the Night." Bryan Cranston essentially plays a late-series Walter White with an accent in this middling thriller, looking intense and menacing while glowering in the passenger seat of a car.
He's a nearly blind Eastern European criminal named Topo, whose path crosses with a single mom named Chloe (Alice Eve) after his driver is killed at the upstate New York motel she operates and the car containing a package of money is impounded by the cops. He needs the money back and she's been tasked with getting it for him, etc. etc.
Viewers who aren't desperate for another "Bad" fix, however tangential, would do well to seek out "A Simple Plan," "The Killing" or other past film noirs that have incorporated the same basic premise.
There simply isn't much more to the film from director Tze Chun ("Children of Invention"), in which the protagonists engage in a battle-of-wills set against a depressed Greene County backdrop.
The movie builds some tension; Chun and cinematographer Noah Rosenthal depict the motel as a spiritual and physical trap for Chloe, who desperately wants to make a better life for daughter Sophia (Ursula Parker). The picture includes a virtuoso, old-school standoff between Chloe, Topo and corrupt cop Billy (Logan Marshall-Green) and evocative images of blood-stained money floating in the breeze.
"Cold Comes the Night" lags when it comes to considering the broader moral implications of this frenzied quest for the money, which is after all little more than a MacGuffin. The characters are totally one-dimensional, with obvious superficial interests, and the movie is missing that essential disquieting exploration of greed's insidiousness.
The plot progresses simplistically; there are no surprises, just mundanely unconvincing developments, and the entire production ultimately lands in your classic mediocre B-movie terrain, destined for whatever the digital equivalent of the Blockbuster discount bin might be.
Directed by Tze Chun
Starring Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green