The Cold Light of Day
- Niki Boyle
- 12 April 2012
Clumsy, by-the-numbers action thriller starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver
Wall Street trader Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) is taking a break from his Stateside business worries to visit his family in Spain, despite terse relations with his father (Bruce Willis). Unfortunately, he barely has time to sip a sangria before the rest of the Shaw clan are kidnapped, a retaliation to his dad’s hitherto undiscovered dodgy dealings as an undercover intelligence operative. It thus falls upon Will to rescue his family, contending with a shady G-woman (Sigourney Weaver), a feisty Spaniard (Veronica Echegui) and a mysterious briefcase along the way.
From the outset, The Cold Light of Day purports to be nothing more than a by-the-numbers action thriller. What’s shocking is how it manages to take this predictable-but-sturdy template and sell it short. Cavill, Willis and Weaver all phone in their parts, perhaps sensing that Scott Wiper and John Petro’s script is irredeemably clichéd and riddled with plot holes so large you could stick your arm through. Director Mabrouk el Mechri makes some minor attempts to imprint his signature on the film (zooming through mirrors, pulling back through car windscreen bullet holes), but is betrayed by ham-fisted editing so that even a Bourne-lite car chase through Madrid is robbed of much excitement.
There are a few moments of lightness – Madrid native Echegui tries her hardest to inject some spark into the proceedings – but not enough to salvage the surrounding dreck. When Weaver lets out an amusingly excited ‘whoop!’ during the aforementioned chase sequence, she’s the only one in the cinema enjoying herself.
Out now on general release. With thanks to Vue Omni, Edinburgh.