Expertly tense and atmospheric, the opening scenes of Tze Chun’s ultimately disappointing noir chiller promise we’re in for a confidently nasty good time. Chloe (Alice Eve) is a single mother running a seedy motel in upstate New York. She’s strapped for cash and has two weeks to vacate the premises before social services takes her daughter away. Fate drops the menacing Topo (Bryan Cranston) into her life—he’s an aging drug-money mule whose latest delivery goes awry after his inept partner gets killed. Topo tasks Chloe (at gunpoint, of course) with recovering the cash, which has not-so-coincidentally been taken by the corrupt cop (Logan Marshall-Green) our scrappy heroine used to sleep with. Maybe, though, she can procure a few of those greenbacks for herself.
As the screws turn, and the double crosses begin, the film sinks under the weight of its own ridiculousness. (The ever-reliable Cranston’s thick Euro-villain accent actually turns out to be one of the least ludicrous elements.) Eve is excellent in the scenes in which the victimized Chloe reveals a growing aptitude for lawlessness. Yet there’s nothing she can do to salvage a bloody, tension-free climax that exists mainly as a showcase for Marshall-Green’s overemphatic bad acting.
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