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
Galavis Film
Film Rites
Fria Luz Del Dia, A.I.E.
Distributed by Aurum Producciones (Spain)
Summit Entertainment (United States)
Release date
  • April 4, 2012 (2012-04-04) (Spain)
  • September 7, 2012 (2012-09-07) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Box office $16.9 million[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. The film is about Will (Cavill), who finds that his family has been kidnapped by foreign agents who are searching for a briefcase stolen by Will's father (Willis), leading to Will taking matters into his own hands to find them.


Will Shaw (Henry Cavill) owns a consultancy business in San Francisco. During the summer break, he reluctantly visits his family in Spain for a holiday. He is met there by his father, Martin Shaw (Bruce Willis), who is himself an advisor for the government. That evening, a phone call to Will concerning his company's insolvency puts him in a bad mood and he decides to go fishing the next day. His preoccupation with the phone results in a sailing accident; Will leaps to save his brother's (Rafi Gavron) girlfriend Dara (Emma Hamilton) from being hit by the yacht's boom but she hits her head on a winch. While everyone is fussing over Dara, Will's phone rings again. In frustration, Martin grabs it and throws it into the ocean. Will decides to swim to town to fetch medical supplies and take some time to cool down. When he comes back, he can no longer find his family in the yacht.

Will goes to the police and they lead him to Zahir (Roschdy Zem), who knows the whereabouts of Will's family, and invites him along to be shown the way. Will senses something is amiss, and attempts to escape with the police car. Martin appears, beats the officers, and helps Will escape.

Martin reveals he is a CIA agent, and explains that the people who kidnapped their family are after a briefcase he had taken while carrying out a CIA assignment. Martin calls his CIA team leader, Jean Carrack (Sigourney Weaver) who agrees to meet him in Madrid. At the meeting, Will stays in the car while Martin talks to Carrack, who says she no longer has the briefcase for she handed it over to their superiors. He doesn't believe her and senses something is wrong. As Martin returns to the car, he is shot and killed by a sniper (Joseph Mawle). Will is shocked but when he gets out to check him, Martin's phone starts ringing and the sniper, Gorman, starts shooting at him. Will grabs the phone, leaves the car, and is chased through Madrid by Gorman. Will escapes, leaving his father's gun in a trash bin. During his escape, Will takes a call from the kidnappers, who want to speak to "Tom" and demand the briefcase in exchange for his family. He is given a deadline of 21 hours and a meeting point.

Will arranges a meeting with his father's friend, Diego. He arrives at Diego's office and meets receptionist Lucia Caldera (Verónica Echegui), who was the girl he spoke to on the phone and it transpires that Diego is her uncle. But Diego was killed by Carrack and Gorman. Will and Lucia escape across the rooftops, but Will is shot. Instead of taking Will to a hospital, Lucia takes him to a nightclub, to a friend who has medical experience. Lucia also tells Will that "Tom" is Martin's alias in Spain, and that she is actually Will's half sister, being Martin's daughter by another woman.

As Will arrives at the meeting point, the kidnappers grab him and torture him for his father's whereabouts. The kidnappers are actually members of the Israelis Government lead by Zahir whom Martin stole the briefcase from while Zahir was using the sensitive information as a lure out a spy in their own government. Once they realize that Carrack has the briefcase, they use Will to lure our Carrack. Will briefly meets his family before Zahir tosses Will back out.

Will heads to the nightclub to meet Lucia. Lucia comes up with a plan to lure Carrack out by starting a tab on her credit card. Gorman appears and is subdued by bouncers at the nightclub and tortured for information. He gives nothing away and Will decides to let him think he has escaped and to follow him. This works and they follow him to Carrack, who has the briefcase and in negotiation with someone in an underground car park. But Carrack senses that something's wrong and starts attacking the negotiators and Will. After an extensive car chase through Madrid, the roles are reversed and Carrack chases them, angry at their interference. The cars collide and Lucia is seriously injured. Just as Carrack is about to shoot Will, she is shot by a sniper, and Zahir retrieves the briefcase. It was revealed that Zahir and his team are CIA agents and Carrack, with Gorman, is a traitor. Zahir commends Will and tells him that his father would have been proud of him. Lucia recovers in hospital, surrounded by her half family. 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 panned by reviewers and holds a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews, with an average rating of 2.7/10.[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 22 out of 100 from 10 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D+" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

The New York Times described the film as a "thoroughly incompetent 'Bourne' movie imitation".[6]


  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. ^ "The Cold Light of Day (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 February 2018. 
  4. ^ "The Cold Light of Day Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 February 2018. 
  5. ^ "CinemaScore". 
  6. ^ 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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