This film is a comedy. It’s important you know this from the get go. Trust me, you’ll have a much better time with this film knowing that up front. If you go into this thinking it’s one of those traditional ‘Liam Neeson murdering henchmen’ movies, you are going to be, well, partially disappointed. Cold Pursuit is a film that is both everything you expect it to be, and completely unexpected at the same time.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland, here remaking his own 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance, the films sees Liam Neeson playing Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver in rural Colorado. When his son is murdered by a drug cartel, he decides to take justice into his own hands. The film then wastes no time in getting to the vengeful carnage, as Nels hunts down those responsible for his son’s death.
It all sounds very familiar doesn’t it? But then Moland begins to play the whole thing for laughs, whilst maintaining the supremely sombre style of Scandi-noir thrillers. This results in the tone of Cold Pursuit being completely wild, and flying in all sorts of directions. The ironic pitch makes it clear that Moland’s intention here is to satirise all of those Dad-on-a-mission revenge thrillers. But at the same time, the film is super violent, gleefully playing up for the fans of those type of films.
Laura Dern is briefly in the film as Nels’s wife, but once she becomes a narrative burden, she disappears from the film completely. I mean, seriously, if you cast Laura Dern, you keep her in the damn film. But then again, there’s a stretch in the second act when even Big Liam disappears for about 20-minutes. Tonally, structurally, thematically, this film is all over the place. It is a wild ride, but thanks to the icy cold vein of Scandinavian gallows humour coursing through the whole thing, it’s not an unpleasant one.
Ultimately though, Cold Pursuit feels like it has no idea what sort of film it wants to be, and therefore tries to have its cake and eat it. The film wants to be a satire of the genre, whilst at the same time give you all of the gratuitous thrills that one of the Taken films would. Ultimately it ends up satisfying neither.
The blu-ray release however comes with some really good special features. There’s 5-minutes of deleted scenes. A fairly in-depth 25-minute behind the scenes documentary about the making of the film. This is a decent featurette, with lots of interviews with the main cast and crew, and plenty of on-set footage. There’s also separate interviews with Neeson and director Hans Petter Moland. The final inclusion on the disc is the theatrical trailer.
Cast: Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Emmy Rossum, Laura Dern Director: Hans Petter Moland Writer: Frank Baldwin Released By: Studiocanal Certificate: 15 Duration: 118 mins Release Date: 24th June 2019