[Review] – The Cold Light Of Day

23 Sep

Title: The Cold Light of Day
Year: 2012
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writers: Scott Wiper and John Petro
Starring: Henry Cavill,Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver
MPAA Rating: PG-13, language and sexual content
Runtime: 93 min
IMDb Rating: 4.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
Metacritic: 22

Henry Cavill is, for those who don’t know, the British man with the task of playing Superman when the caped crusader returns to theaters next summer in Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel. Now, the trailer that we got for that film looked slick and the cast is neat and Christopher Nolan‘s producing and of course we’re all psyched about a new film set in Metropolis, but just how good is Mr. Cavill? The truth is, I don’t know. The man only has a few credits to his name to begin with, and other than from his television work on The Tudors (which I quite liked) the three or four other things I’ve seen him on haven’t really given me that big a read of him, especially not enough to know if he can handle such an iconic role. So The Cold Life of Day seemed like a perfect chance to check him out again, this time with a lead role all his own.

Here he stars as Will Shaw, this guy who goes to Spain to, rather reluctantly, spend a week with his family vacationing on a sailboat. While on a boat a clumsy accident results in the girlfriend of Will’s brother getting struck on the head by the sail and Will offering to swim into town to get her some medicine. Except, uh oh, once he gets back his whole family’s missing and, before you know it, Will is on the run himself being pursued by intelligence officers after a mysterious briefcase.

This whole thing, by the way, is executed in the most horrible of ways. There’s is absolutely nothing in this movie I can recommend, I haven’t seen a film I’ve failed since The Babymakers and that was nearly exactly a month ago, back in August 24, so the streak was bound to end sometime and I had to watch total garbage again someday, but The Cold Light of Day is just an utter mess of a movie and our future Superman never once even attempts to rise above the stupidity of the material he’s given. Evidently it’s not as though this film once asked him to act or do much, so he may prove to be a totally awesome Supe when the time comes, but right now he’s just absolutely disappointing, not even once putting an ounce of effort into these trite proceedings.

The cinematography by Remi Adefarasin, a very talented man who has an Oscar nomination for Elizabeth, but The Cold Light of Day doesn’t even look good, it has this super dark and grimy feel to it that’s just way, way off. Then you have the editing by Valerio Bonelli which is just about ten kinds of wrong, favoring this super fast cuts that leave the action sequences feeling distraughtly incomprehensible.

That whole schtick, by the way, what it tried to do with the frenzy cuts and the gritty look is 100% ripped off the Bourne movies, as is pretty much every other thing this film attempts, basically. As you might correctly assume from reading these words, I think this film falls flat on its face every time it tries to pull off one of the gimmicks the Bourne films achieved with so much style and grace and sheer kick-assery. I’m really just left thinking what the hell attracted these people to this film, Mr. Cavill may not be a huge name (yet) but, still, he’s Superman for God’s sake, and he’s joined here by Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, two awesome stars who no doubt must have had better options on their plate to choose from.

Mabrouk El Mechri is the director here and, granted, I had only seen one previous film of his but that had been 2008’s JCVD which was one of the most awesomely surprising films to come out that year, so I know the guy can do a lot and he can do a lot from seemingly just-fine material. Though, evidently, the material here is worse than just-fine; the script, written by Scott Wiper and John Petro just shows two men who had no business trying to write a film like this and probably thought it couldn’t be that hard just to send someone running for his life. Upon inspection of their IMDb’s, Mr. Petro had never written a screenplay before (it shows) and the biggest claim Mr. Wiper has to be able to make this is the fact that he’s a member of the American Sailing Association.

You may have noticed that I really haven’t gotten into detail about the plot. That’s not really because I don’t want to spoil it for you or anything like that, but just because it really is rather inconsequential. It turns out that Will’s dad, played by Mr. Willis, was actually a CIA agent and at least Mr. Willis had some good sense in taking a part that would require little screentime from him (yes, he dies). After that it’s all Will running and shootouts and car chases and Ms. Weaver as the double-crossing evil boss, a role that she shouldn’t have taken this seriously and instead would have worked better as way over-the-top considering this film sucked to begin with. Two absolutely veteran actors evidently not caring a bit for the film they’re in, just cashing a paycheck. I guess that’s fine, actually.

The Cold Light of Day is one seriously horrible generic thriller that doesn’t work for a second, one that has no imagination whatsoever (a briefcase as MacGuffin, no way!) and is full of actors who are just chugging along with this without the tiniest bit of energy or effort put into it. Like I said, Mr. Cavill may just go on to be an awesome Superman, and I really, really hope that happens; here, however, he’s a total lost cause and it’s said that it’ll be the last thing we’ll see him in until he dons those iconic tights.

Grade: D

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