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 byMabrouk El Mechri
Written by
Produced by
  • Marc D. Evans
  • Trevor Macy
  • Jesus Martinez Asencio
  • Kevin Mann
  • Mark Canton
CinematographyRemi Adefarasin
Edited byValerio Bonelli
Music byLucas Vidal
Distributed by
Release dates
  • April 4, 2012 (2012-04-04) (Spain)
  • September 7, 2012 (2012-09-07) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
  • United States
  • Spain
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$25.4 million[1]

The Cold Light of Day is a 2012 American action thriller film directed by Mabrouk El Mechri and distributed by Summit Entertainment.[3] It was written by Scott Wiper and John Petro and stars Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, and Sigourney Weaver. Its story follows Will (Cavill), who finds that his family has been kidnapped by foreign agents who are searching for a briefcase stolen by his father (Willis), which forces him to take matters into his own hands to find them.

The film was produced by Intrepid Pictures and was released on September 7, 2012. It received negative reviews and has a 4% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]


Will Shaw owns a consultancy business in San Francisco about to go into insolvency, reluctantly visiting his family in Spain for a holiday. He is met there by his father, Martin, an advisor for the U.S. government, with whom he has a tense relationship.

Will's preoccupation with his phone results in a sailing accident where Will leaps to save his brother's girlfriend Dara from being hit by the yacht's boom but she hits her head on a winch. Martin grabs the phone and throws it into the ocean. Will swims to town to fetch medical supplies and to cool down.

When Will returns, the yacht had moved and his family is no longer inside. He goes to the police and they lead him to Zahir, who knows where his family is. He senses something is amiss, and attempts to escape in a police car. Martin appears, and aids Will by beating the officers.

Martin reveals he is a CIA agent, and that the people who kidnapped their family are after a briefcase he had taken on an assignment. Martin meets his CIA team leader Jean Carrack in Madrid, who claims she no longer has the briefcase, but he knows she is lying.

As Martin returns to his car, he is sniped and killed by Gorman. Will retrieves his phone as Gorman starts shooting at him and gives chase. As Will escapes, he takes a call from the kidnappers, who want to speak to "Tom", providing a 21 hour deadline and a meeting point to exchange the briefcase for his family.

Receiving no help from the US embassy, Will is picked up by Carrack in a car outside, but he realizes she is untrustworthy. He feigns illness and she, disgusted by the thought of him vomiting in her car, has the car pulled over and Will gets away.

Will arranges a meeting with his father's friend Diego at his office and meets receptionist Lucia Caldera, Diego's niece, where he fights off one of Carrack's men. The pair go to Diego's apartment, but he was killed by Carrack and Gorman.

Will and Lucia escape across the rooftops, but he is shot. She takes him to a nightclub, to a friend who has medical experience who cauterizes the wound. Lucia explains that "Tom" is Martin's alias in Spain, and she is Will's half-sister, Martin's daughter by another woman.

As Will arrives at the meeting point, he is grabbed and tortured for his father's whereabouts by the kidnappers, actually Israeli Mossad agents lead by Zahir, who was using the briefcase to lure a traitor when Martin stole it from them. They realize Carrack framed Martin and she has the briefcase, so they want Will to lure her out. He briefly sees his family before Zahir releases him.

Will meets Lucia at the nightclub, where she starts a tab on Carrack's credit card. Gorman appears and is subdued by bouncers at the club and tortured for information but he refuses to budge. Will lets Gorman escape so he lead them to Carrack, who tries to sell the briefcase in an underground car park. Zahir's men surround them but give away their position, so Carrack and Gorman open fire on their own buyers before starting to attack and escape from Mossad, during which Lucia hits (the already shot) Gorman in a car crash who dies, enraging Carrack as she flees.

Will and Lucia pursue Carrack through Madrid, with Carrack undiscriminately causing death and destruction along the way, until eventually their cars collide and Lucia is seriously injured. Just as Carrack is about to shoot Will, she is killed by Zahir with a sniper rifle, who retrieves the briefcase and releases his family. Lucia recovers in the hospital with her new half family as Will looks on at his new expanded family. He is offered a job in the CIA; whether he accepts is left unresolved.



The film was shot in Spain, including at Teulada-Moraira and Xàbia on the Costa Blanca. It was released on April 6, 2012 in the United Kingdom and September 7, 2012 in the United States.

Box office[edit]

The Cold Light of Day grossed $1.8 million in its opening weekend and $25.4 million worldwide, against a budget of $20 million.[5][1]


The film was panned by reviewers and holds a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 2.7/10.[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 22 out of 100 from 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D+" on an A+ to F scale.[8] The New York Times described the film as a "thoroughly incompetent 'Bourne' movie imitation".[9]


  1. ^ a b c "'The Cold Light of Day' (2012)". The Numbers. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 6, 2012). "'The Possession' to scare off Bradley Cooper on slow weekend". Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Gant, Charles (April 9, 2012). "The Cold Light of Day". Variety. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  4. ^ The Cold Light of Day (2012), retrieved February 14, 2020
  5. ^ "The Cold Light of Day". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Cold Light of Day (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Cold Light of Day Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore".
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen (2014). "The Cold Light of Day (2012)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.

External links[edit]