Review: The Cold Light Of Day

Directed by: Mabrouk El Mechri

Starring: Henry Cavill, Verónica Echegui, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver.

Rating:   Running Time: 93 minutes.

Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) arrives in Spain for a family holiday, being met by his father Martin (Bruce Willis), with whom he has a strained relationship, at the airport. The two talk sparingly on their drive to the marina where they meet up with his mother Laurie (Caroline Goodall), brother Josh (Rafi Gavron) and Josh’s girlfriend Dara. At dinner, while the family tell Dara stories about travelling the world due to Martin’s position as a cultural attache, Will, preoccupied with his phone and texting to his work, soon after receives a call telling him that his company is bankrupt. Still distracted by his phone the next day whilst sailing, he causes the boom of the boat to swing violently injuring Dara. Martin, furious at Will, throws his phone in the sea, and Will heads inland to calm down and take a break from his father.

He returns shortly thereafter, finding that the boat is gone, eventually finding it further down the coast, unmanned and with the contents ransacked. Will goes to the police, only to be approached by men that try to force him to go with them, and after failing to escape, while being beaten, is saved by Martin. After the two escape Martin confesses to Will that he works for the CIA and that his family may have been kidnapped because of him. They drive to Madrid where Martin meets with fellow operative Jean (Sigourney Weaver), to discuss a briefcase that he obtained on their last op. The men who have his family are holding them as ransom to get it back, and have given him a deadline by which they must get it or else they will be killed.

Considering that it doesn’t have a lot of plotting to it, once it gets going The Cold Light Of Day manages to make what little it does have extremely convoluted, with the above events only taking you up to about a third of the way through the movie- at which point we’ve stopped at intentionally to avoid spoilers- but if you’ve seen the trailer you can pretty much guess some of the main events that occur later on.  It’s nice that the movie does take a while to try and establish with the characters which is fairly rare in the action genre nowadays, the opening scenes on the boat are believable and genuinely interesting.

It’s a shame that from there on the movie becomes your typical action thriller. To be honest, at the end once the credits began to roll I stayed around just to see if the name Luc Besson appeared anywhere as either a writer or producer, as it feels exactly like the type of B-grade movie we have come to expect from him nowadays. Henry Cavill is perfectly fine in his scenes with Bruce Willis on screen early on, and proves that given the right conditions he can generate some screen presence. In their scenes together there is a real sense of animosity between the two characters, that they don’t have a good relationship (for which you do find out the reason later on), but when Cavill is leading the movie himself, he struggles to generate anywhere near as strong a screen presence required to hold the audience as a leading man. Not good for the man cast to be the next Superman.

Verónica Echegui is brought in later in the movie as Lucia, a woman with a connection to Martin’s past, but all that I really remember of her in her scenes is that she can scream, really, really loud. Nothing else stands out about her, someone cast her in a decent horror/slasher movie and she’ll be perfect, but not so much in this. One thing of note worth mentioning was how the hero was not bulletproof, he gets injured, and not only that, but that he’s not immediately proficient during car chases or with firearms. When he first gets his hands on a gun he accidentally fires off a round at the ground, and at another point makes sure to switch off the safety on a gun with his other hand (as opposed to his thumb as we don’t see in most action movies) to be ready before entering a room.

The problem is that at later points, the plot goes all over the place, introducing a sub plot of Israeli intelligence, and eventually when it should all start to tie up everything, an unnecessary and almost boring car chase is tacked on to try and stop it running out of steam and get it to the 90 minute mark. We’re seeing now more and more movies with the veteran action stars handing off the torch to the new talent, but unless it’s a decent effort and the new talent is worthy, there’s no point. Towards the end of the movie a main character utters the line ‘I’m getting sick and tired of this’ and all I could think was ‘Me too’. How can a 93 minute long movie be too long? See this and you’ll find out.

Posted on April 9, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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