Cinema Review: Cold Comes the Night



DIR: Tze Chun  WRI: Tze Chun, Osgood Perkins, Nick Simon  PRO: Mynette Louie, Trevor Sagan  DOP: Noah Rosenthal. • ED: Paul Frank  • DES: Laurie Hicks CAST: Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green


Chloe (Eve) is the owner of a sleazy motel whose inhabitants are predominantly prostitutes and junkies. The reason for the griminess of the motel’s customers is largely down to an agreement Chloe has with local, crooked cop Billy (Marshall-Green), in which he gets a cut of her profits in exchange for him turning a blind eye to the lurid activities that take place in the motel. Chloe is under pressure from social services to find a more suitable environment for her to raise her young daughter Sophia in. The trouble is that Chloe struggles to make ends meet with the motel as it is and does not have the capital she needs to start a new life. However, when an incompetent sociopath is killed in her motel, Chloe is forced to help his blind partner in crime, Russian mobster Topo (Cranston) relocate a stash of money that was in the dead man’s car, and which has been taken by Billy. Initially scared of Topo, Chloe gradually begins to wonder if this might be an opportunity for her to get the extra cash she needs for her and her daughter to start a new life.

While this may all sound terribly generic, Cold Comes the Night eschews such accusations, through virtue of its pervasive oddness and unintentional hilarity. What was going through the mind of whoever thought it would be a good idea to cast Bryan Cranston as a Russian mobster is anyone’s guess? It is not just the thickness of the accent that raises chuckles but also the insistence that his character drops ”the” from every sentence. What makes matters even more curious is the fact that there is no real thematic reason for his character to be Russian. It’s as if the director, Tze Chun, simply thought it would be fun to experiment with how far he can take a well-respected character actor out of his comfort zone.

Marshall-Green does his best not be outshone by Cranston in the laughing stakes by giving one of the largest performances seen on screen in some time. It’s up to Eve to attempt to ground the film in some sort of believable reality. Having, earlier on in the year, been the subject of the Hollywood male gaze at its most cretinous, in a notorious, tastelessly gratuitous semi-nude scene in Star Trek: Into Darkness, Eve is here allowed to create the closest thing to a real character in the film. While her portrayal of a good mother and hard-working, if morally dubious, woman is quietly impressive it is hardly likely to be mistaken for something out of a film by The Dardenne Brothers in terms of its realism.

There are some unqualified successes- Noah Rosenthal’s cinematography is appropriately cool and distanced, while Jeff Grace’s excellent score keeps things enlivened. But if this film is likely to be remembered for anything, which in itself is highly unlikely, it is for how disastrously the film utilises its genuinely talented actors, particularly Cranston, and the question as to how, indeed, these actors came to be involved in it in the first place?

One wonders if the film isn’t in fact some grand postmodern joke. Just what universe is this film supposed to be taking place in? It is so utterly misconceived and so relentlessly ridiculous that it is certainly never boring. While that may not count as a recommendation for this ludicrous slice of pulp, it’s hard not to have some affection, or perhaps some sympathy, for something as harmlessly daft as this.

David Prendeville 

15A (See IFCO for details)

90 mins
Cold Comes the Night is released on 20th September 2013








Cinema Review: Prometheus

DIR: Ridley Scott • WRI: Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof • PRO: David Gilel, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott • DOP: Dariusz Wolski • ED: Pietro Scalia • DES: Arthur Max • Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender

For his first foray into sci-fi in 30 years, Sir Ridley Scott decided to return to the franchise he helped to create. Except not really, as leading up to its release, he’s tried to distance his latest creation from Alien, and have it serve as a stand-alone movie. To that end, this review shall be (hopefully) spoiler-free and (mostly) lacking in comparison to the Alien franchise.

Starting off with the creation of life no less, we jump forward several million years to scientists Noomi Rapace and her partner Logan Marshall-Green discovering ancient drawings with maps to the stars. After getting a trillion dollars’ worth of funding from kindly old Guy Pearce, they’re away to said stars with Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender and a crew of vaguely recognisables who might as well have ‘cannon fodder’ tattooed on to their foreheads. And once the good ship Prometheus lands on the planet they’re looking for, the crew make a discovery, but not the one they were looking for…

Scott takes his time setting up and, as with Alien, it’s the guts of an hour before the crew come across anything nasty. But, unlike Alien, it’s very unlikely you’ll care if any of these make it out alive. Rapace is fine as a Ripley-lite, Elba does a nice line in gruff and charming, but even though the rest of the cast are more than adequate, especially the scene-stealing Fassbender, they’re all so painfully unlikable that you start hoping for face-huggers galore.

To be fair to Scott, the film looks fantastic. The polar opposite of the lived-in gritty look of his previous sci-fi outings, the pristine and polished veneer of Prometheus is something to be constantly marvelled at, and throughout the course of the movie there are two scenes of genuine horror, including one that, while not quite up there with the giddy heights of the original chest-buster scene, gives it a good run for its money in terms of gore and tension. Unfortunately, Scott’s visuals are encumbered by one of the most horrendous scores in recent memory, and the small number of good horror scenes are surrounded by some truly dreadful dialogue.

Good sci-fi should always have the audience asking questions, and while Prometheus bursts out of the gate with potentially the biggest one of all: Why Are We Here?, it quickly drops its lofty ideals of intellectualism in favour of big men in spacesuits throwing other men in spacesuits around the place, and soon the only questions we’re left asking are about the gaping plot holes. What started out as potentially Alien with some brains ended up being Contact with some blood. And that is not a compliment.

Rory Cashin

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Prometheus is released on 1st June 2012

Prometheus – Official Website