A crime drama so forgettable it practically erases itself as it runs, Cold Comes The Night has just one real selling point: Bryan Cranston. But the Breaking Bad star—who looks here not unlike the Heisenberg of last season—can’t buoy material so thin that it would’ve barely supported an episode of The Killing. As it stands, even with padded scenes of walking and contemplating, the movie barely makes it to 90 minutes, just a few of them engaging in any meaningful way.
Cranston plays Topo, a low-level Russian mobster who ends up at a shitty motel run by single mom Chloe (Alice Eve) and her ridiculously adorable daughter (and a pet turtle named Mr. Jones, who gets more than his share of screen time). When bad luck and a crooked local cop interrupt Topo’s money-muling operation, he forces Chloe to help him track down the missing cash. The twist: Topo is mostly blind, and thus constantly in need of assistance, even though he’s a ruthless murderer.
Cranston’s accent is underplayed at its best and ridiculously distracting at its worst: Sometimes he’s believable as a Russian, other times he sounds German, and in one notable moment, he seems to be channeling Dracula. (“Little girl… you have jacket?”) The street-smart motel mom—who’s also, it should be noted, being threatened by Child Protective Services just for having her adorable, well-adjusted daughter living in a seedy motel that she runs—hatches a plan to slice herself a piece of the mob money, because hey, the mobster’s blind anyway and won’t notice her spiriting it away.
It’s a story straight out of a bad ’80s movie that seems to think it’s building Fargo-level characters. It isn’t. Limited, convenient backstories, a villain—that dirty cop—so unbelievable in his actions he might as well be twirling his mustache, and performances that flit from daytime-soap to B-movie level (The Wire’s Leo Fitzpatrick is especially wasted) add up to something that’s been done many times before and much better. Bryan Cranston is a weighty presence, to be sure, but he can’t keep a whole movie from blowing away in the wind.