Cold Pursuit shows us a whole new side of Liam Neeson with jarring moments of violence interspersed with jet black humour so if you’re looking to see something different I would give it a shot. Just don’t expect Taken 4.
Plot: Nels Coxman’s quiet life as a snowplow driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His search for the truth soon becomes a quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord named Viking and his sleazy henchmen. Transformed from upstanding citizen to coldblooded vigilante, Coxman unwittingly sets off a chain of events that includes a kidnapping, a series of deadly misunderstandings and a turf war between Viking and a rival boss.
Review: I normally don’t like to have even minor spoilers in my reviews but with Cold Pursuit it’s difficult not to so this is warning that there are some spoilers but nothing that will ruin the movie.
Despite the horribly generic title Cold Pursuit is anything but your average Liam Neeson potboiler. It’s a remake of In Order of Disappearance which was directed by Hans Petter Moland who would then also direct this movie which is rare indeed.
The trailers may have you thinking you are going to see a Taken type movie with echoes of The Grey but it isn’t like that at all. I’ve heard comparisons with Fargo which I would certainly agree with as Cold Pursuit is a quirky movie with moments of graphic violence usually followed by pitch black humour which is very much my brand. There were several points during this movie where I was nearly crying with laughter and even the moments of violence were tinged with dark humour so it never gets overly disturbing.
Neeson’s character Nels Coxman is no Bryan Mills; we’re not really cheering this guy on as he isn’t a particularly good person. Even before his son dies he isn’t very close with his wife so when she leaves it’s no major surprise. He barely even registers it demonstrating that the spark had gone out a long time ago.
Coxman vows revenge after the death of his son and he triggers a drug war which just causes even more deaths so you know by the time the end credits role there will be a rather high bodycount.
There are some wonderful character moments throughout with too many to go into here but I loved how when someone dies their name comes up on screen which was something a little different and provided a lot of the laughs.
Tom Bateman was wonderfully despicable as the villain Viking who like all decent bad guys has to occasionally kill his own men. He has a complicated relationship with his son and ex-wife which he is trying to deal with while also finding out who keeps killing his men.
There is a fantastic supporting cast with William Forsythe as watchable as ever, Laura Dern in a rather small role and Michael Eklund who plays a shady type called Speedo who doesn’t have a very good day. Emmy Rossum is a cop trying to make a name for herself in this small town and we get several funny interludes with her talking to her ex about the case. The kid was also remarkably not annoying and came across very well so his relationship with Coxman as a potential father figure isn’t a big stretch.
The tone may put some off as like I said if you go in expecting Taken or The Commuter then you’ll be disappointed; it’s never short on violence but it’s not the all-out action flick you’d maybe want so you have been warned.
Personally I say if you are looking to see Liam Neeson as you’ve never seen him before then I would go in with an open mind and enjoy the ride.
Overall, Cold Pursuit is one of Neeson’s best movies in years and although Taken fans may be disappointed it is a breath of fresh air to see him tackle something so unique. I’ve never seen In Order of Disappearance but I’m tempted to give it a shot now as it’s on Netflix.