Cold by name and cold by nature, even the presence of the fabulous Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) won’t make you warm to this emotionally frigid indie thriller.
Set in upstate New York it stars a deliberately scruffy and scrubbed-faced Alice Eve as Chloe, the single mother owner of a run-down motel desperately trying to make ends met. To this end she is reluctantly conniving with a crooked cop (Logan Marshall-Green) to let prostitutes use the motel rooms to turn tricks. This has come to the attention of local social services who have given Chloe just two weeks to re-house her daughter somewhere more appropriate.
This is when the major twist in the plot kicks in with a nearly blind Polish hitman, Topo (Cranston) and his driver turning up unexpectedly for the night. When the driver kills one of the working girls their car is impounded by the police and Topo kidnaps Chloe and her daughter in order to retrieve the stash of money hidden inside.
From here, the plot follows a dozen other sub-noir thrillers as dirty cops, the bad guys and Chloe vie to get their hands on the money. But the thing is you just won’t care. You’ll have seen this all before and there is something so cut off and distanced about all the characters you never connect with them.
Another problem is the extent of Topo’s visual disability – considering this is a man who is meant to be virtually blind it’s amazing how he manages to overcome a violent attack by a whole car-load of adversaries. He also has an accent bordering on cartoon thickness and yet no sense of humour. Eve does her best with Chloe but one never senses that incandescent rage and barely contained violence mothers are capable of when their children are threatened.
That the film remains so static and dispassionate may be a deliberate move by director Tze Chun in order to underline the loneliness and isolation of his characters. If so, it’s a move that backfires. Meanwhile, Cranston can do much better than this, as he demonstrated in Drive, while Eve still seems to be searching for material that will best suit her particular acting style.