VOD film review: Cold Pursuit
Ivan Radford | On 28, Jun 2019
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Cast: Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Laura Dern
Watch Cold Pursuit online in the UK: Amazon Prime / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Cold Pursuit, the story of a road clearer in Colorado who goes on a rampage of revenge following the death of his son, might sound like an unlikely spin-off for The Simpsons’ Mr. Plow, but its roots lie in something much darker: In Order of Disppearance, the Norwegian film from 2014. Directed by Hans Petter Moland, that film starred Stellan Skarsgård as a snowplow driver out for justice. Here, Moland (at the helm once again) swaps out Stellan for Hollywood’s own grizzled veteran, Liam Neeson.
Neeson is a natural choice for the US remake, which joins his long line of Ageing Vigilante flicks. He brings grizzled chops, a gruff knack for action and enough heart to make his painful quest for closure sincere if not sympathetic. He plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver in the ski resort of Kehoe, who is shocked to hear of his son’s death from a heroin overdose. Discovering that it was caused by a Denver drug cartel, he starts to track down the group, one by one.
His checklist is intercut with cartel boss Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman), who is bemused by the way his men keep disappearing – but not as bemused as he is by the day-to-day struggle of trying to raise his son, while also trying to avoid a war with a rival group who end up in an escalating game of vengeful one-upmanship.
It’s a bold juxtaposition of dark comedy and dark retribution, and while the cast are certainly game, the script (from Frank Baldwin) doesn’t always get the balance right; the mix of laughter and mortality worked much better in the Nordic original, where the tone felt more unified, the larger-than-life villain more idiosyncratic and the line between the story’s two halves thinner. Transposed to America, this feels more influenced than the Coen brothers than its Scandi starting point.
That’s not to say that Moland doesn’t know how to stage a set piece, though, and Cold Pursuit serves up calculated action with a satisfying sense of heft, a visually pleasing style and a compelling amount of character. Anchored by Neeson, it might earn a slightly frostier reception than its source material, but this entertaining remake is still an endeavour worth pursuing.
Cold Pursuit is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.