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| 25 February 2019 | Reply

Written by Frank Baldwin & Kim Fupz Aakeson
Directed by Hans Peter Moland
Starring Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Liam Neeson has carved himself a niche in recent years, specialising in family revenge flicks such as the Taken series, and in Cold Pursuit he’s at it again, out to avenge son Kyle who was murdered by drug dealers after stealing some cocaine whilst working as an airport baggage handler.

Neeson is Nels Coxman, a hard-working snowplough driver who keeps the roads of ski resort Keyhoe, on the outskirts of Denver, open. Coxman almost kills himself after Kyle dies, but sees the light and instead goes on a rampage up the chain of drug dealers.

There is a decidedly Nordic feel to Cold Pursuit which runs deeper than the snow-covered landscape. Sometimes described as “the Ridley Scott of Norway,” director Hans Peter Moland brings his own pedigree to this, his first American film, which itself is adapted from the 2014 Norwegian movie In Order Of Disappearance.

Each step Coxman takes closer to drug kingpin Viking (a chilling Tom Bateman) and the native American drug dealing family he is at war with is a separate violent vignette of its own, cleverly and amusingly punctuated by a tombstone graphic for the dead.

While the movie posters promise another run-of-the-mill thriller, what sets Cold Pursuit apart from the likes of Taken is a subtle, deftly handled darkly comic tone throughout. Giggles erupt throughout the cinema as if viewers are asking themselves “should I laugh at that?” and the laughs build as the film goes on. In fact, without the Coen brothers/Tarantino-esque humour, Cold Pursuit would be quite a mean-spirited piece.

Laura Dern plays Mrs Coxman, but leaves quietly early in the film because… well, we’re not really sure whether it’s because Nels doesn’t talk to her, she needs to grieve for her son alone, or simply because she wouldn’t have anything to do while hubby goes on his one-man revenge trip.

Cold Pursuit is full of quirky and interesting characters, and it’s easy to overlook its shortcomings by simply enjoying the entertaining ride it takes us on.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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