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Review: Neat twists and tension heat up 'Cold Comes the Night'

The noirishly titled "Cold Comes the Night" is a tense little thriller that provides juicy roles for its deft lead actors, Alice Eve and Bryan Cranston, as well as some well-played action and several neat twists.

Directed by Tze Chun ("Children of Invention") from a script by Chun, Osgood Perkins (Anthony's son) and Nick Simon, the film finds Chloe (Eve), a struggling single mom running a seedy, hooker-happy motel in bleak upstate New York, on the cusp of packing up her small daughter (Ursula Parker) and moving off to more child-friendly environs, per the orders of an intractable social worker.

But when Topo (Cranston), a stony, vision-impaired thug, lands at the motel in pursuit of a sack of missing money, a hostage situation ensues, with Chloe trapped at the center. That the circumstances, which also embroil a corrupt local cop (Logan Marshall-Green, also excellent), could actually net the broke Chloe the money she so desperately needs to leave town tests the tough-minded proprietress' ethical and survival instincts in edgy, unexpected ways.

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The regally blond, British-born Eve convinces as a working-class American, her gently blunted beauty and frank affect here effectively shaping the gritty, resourceful Chloe. She and Cranston, who vividly inhabits the mysterious, Polish-accented Topo with equal parts danger and dignity, make for a compelling captor and captive — and cat and mouse.

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"Cold Comes the Night"

MPAA rating: R for language and violence

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Laemmle's Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood; AMC's Burbank Town Center 8; AMC's Orange 30

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