The Cold Light of Day (2012 film)

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The Cold Light of Day
The Cold Light of Day.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri
Produced by
Written by
Music by Lucas Vidal
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Edited by Valerio Bonelli
Intrepid Pictures
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release dates
  • April 6, 2012 (2012-04-06) (United Kingdom)
  • September 6, 2012 (2012-09-06) (Hong Kong & Macau)
  • September 7, 2012 (2012-09-07) (United States)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Box office $16,863,583[2]

The Cold Light of Day is a 2012 American/Spanish action film directed by Mabrouk El Mechri, starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver.


Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) is a young man who works as an advisor in San Francisco. During the summer break, he decides to visit his family in Spain for a holiday he really doesn't want. He is picked up by his father, Martin Shaw (Bruce Willis), who works in various different countries for the government as an advisor himself. In the evening, phone calls put Will in a bad mood and he decides to go fishing the next day. Will is still preoccupied with the phone calls, resulting in an accident which causes his brother's (Rafi Gavron) girlfriend to hit her head on a winch when Will dives to save her from being hit by a boom. While everyone is checking to see if Dara (Emma Hamilton) is alright, Will's phone rings again. In frustration Martin throws Will's phone into the ocean. Will decides to swim into town to fetch medical supplies and take some time to cool down.

When he returns to the beach, Will finds the boat gone, but after searching, he discovers it abandoned in a neighboring cove. Will runs to a local police station where he is met with indifference. When Will identifies himself, the officer in charge makes a phone call, and then asks to be taken to the boat. They are met there by Zahir (Roschdy Zem), who knows the whereabouts of Will's family, and invites him to show him the way. Will senses something is wrong with the situation, and attempts to escape in the police car. Martin shows up, beats the officers and helps Will escape.

Martin reveals to Will that he is a CIA agent, and explains that the people who have taken their family are after a briefcase he took. Martin calls his partner who agrees to meet him in Madrid. They go to the meeting and Will stays in the car while Martin talks to his partner, Jean Carrack (Sigourney Weaver), who says that she doesn't have the briefcase anymore. He doesn't believe her and thinks something isn't right. As he returns to the car, a sniper (Joseph Mawle) murders Martin. When Will gets out to check him, Martin's phone starts ringing and the sniper, Gorman, starts shooting at him. He grabs the phone out of his father's pocket, leaves the car and is chased through Madrid by police and Gorman, but he manages to escape, and throws his dad's gun in the trash. During his escape, He gets a call from the kidnappers who want to speak to "Tom" and say they want the briefcase in exchange for his family. The kidnappers give Will a deadline of 21 hours and meeting point.

Going to the U.S embassy, Will discovers that he is wanted for killing a police officer which he denies, but they are not interested in finding his family. The embassy then tells him someone wants to meet him. Jean and a man wait for him, and Jean says she wants to help. He doesn't trust her and fakes illness to escape. Carrack tells her agents to let him run and that they will get "the other one" first. Will recovers the gun from the trash, and gets on a bus. Looking through his father's phone, he sees that Diego's name comes up several times and calls it. He again gets a call from the kidnappers who want to speak to "Tom" and say they want the briefcase in exchange for his family. The kidnappers tell Will to bring them the briefcase by 6pm at Puerta del Sol. During this call Will speaks to his mother and tells her Martin was killed.

He arrives at Diego's office and speaks to Lucia Caldera (Verónica Echegui), Diego's niece and the girl who he spoke to on the phone. Suddenly, the man from the embassy appears and fights with Will, who kills him. Lucia and Will go to Diego's apartment but find out that Jean and her hitman Gorman have killed her uncle. Will finds and confronts Jean and Gorman in the kitchen. She wants him to follow her but is interrupted by Lucia coming in. They escape through the rooftops and Will is shot. Instead of a hospital, she takes Will to a nightclub where her friend has medical experience. Will also finds out that Tom is Martin's alias in Spain, and that Lucia is his half sister, being Martin's illegitimate daughter.

Will recovers and goes to a meeting with the kidnapper on the phone. The man on the phone is Zahir who initially beats up Will for information. Once he realizes Will really is ignorant of what is happening, Zahir tells him the truth; The briefcase was stolen from a Mossad agent by Martin. Zahir is an Israeli agent determined to recover the case. He realises that Jean is the corrupt agent, not Martin, and she wants to sell the contents of the case. He decides to use Will to lure out Jean and the buyers of the briefcase. Zahir shows Will's family saying he must do as he says, and this must succeed or the family will be released and Jean will kill them.

Lucia comes up with a plan to lure Jean out by starting a tab on her credit card. This lures out Gorman who is subdued by the bouncers at the club and tortured for information. Gorman gives nothing away and Will's next plan is to make him think he has escaped so they can follow him. This works and they follow him to Jean, who then lead them to an underground car park. The Israeli agents follow but a noise spooks Jean who kills the buyers and tries to escape. Gorman is killed trying to escape in his car, and Will and Lucia then pursue Jean. After a pursuit through Madrid, the roles are reversed and Jean chases them due to her frustration with their interference. The cars then collide, and Will's car is worse off. Just as Jean is about to deliver the final blow, she is taken out by Zahir, who retrieves the briefcase.

As Lucia recovers in hospital, she also meets her new half family, and Will is offered a job in the CIA. Whether he accepts is left unresolved.



The film was shot in Spain. The coastal tourist locations Teulada-Moraira and Javea are featured in the movie.

The film was released on April 6, 2012 in the United Kingdom and September 7, 2012 in the United States.


The film was heavily criticised by reviewers and holds a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 40 reviews. The New York Times described the film as a "thoroughly incompetent 'Bourne' movie imitation."[3]


  1. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 6, 2012). "'The Possession' to scare off Bradley Cooper on slow weekend". Retrieved August 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ "'The Cold Light of Day' (2012)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen. "The Cold Light of Day (2012)". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved August 31, 2014. 

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