The latest film with Liam Neeson, Cold Pursuit, can’t convince and wants to be something it can’t be. A short review.
Liam Neeson is an actor who stands for some good action movies (Taken (2008), Non-Stop (2014), The Commuter (2018)). But in this new black comedy action film Cold Pursuit, he does not live up to his name. It’s not his fault, his performance is as always – hard guy, nearly emotionless. It’s everything that is around this movie that does not work correctly.
Little humor, bad action
To call the movie a “black comedy action” is not justified. There are some funny moments in the movie. And also a few deaths are nicely staged. But that’s where it ends. The elements of the black comedy are not exhausted, the wit of the film always remains superficial. The same applies to action sequences: These are never really action, but also no action. Somewhere in between.
The only framework that supports the clichéd story is the motif of revenge. But the viewer never gets the feeling of revenge. The character of Nelson Coxman (Liam Neeson) isn’t psychologically illuminated at all and the viewer doesn’t really care if he kills his son’s murderers or not… Nelson kills the people involved in his son’s death with a lightness and simplicity never seen before in a movie. The challenge here is zero. Almost never is Nelson in danger, never! And the result is that the viewer doesn’t get excited at all, but only thinks: When is this emptiness only over?
Now you might think that the film wants to achieve exactly that: play with the clichés and turn the genre cinema upside down. But this doesn’t succeed at all and the film comes across as extremely clumsy. Moreover, Cold Pursuit does not succeed in using its snowy landscape as a second main character. The snow has almost nothing to do with the plot – in contrast to Fargo (1996) for example. There the eternal snowy landscape was at least adequately exploited and created an unforgettable atmosphere. But here the atmosphere is zero.
Another aspect that makes the film think of Fargo are the naive policemen in the story. In contrast to the movie of the Coen brothers, the policemen only play a small, superfluous role. If nothing exciting happens to them, why are they in the movie at all? They don’t contribute anything to the story. Maybe a bad homage to Fargo…
A wasted opportunity
After In Order of Disappearance (2014) the Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland seemed as a promising new filmmaker. But with his remake of his own film of 2014 Moland failed spectaculary. By the way: Why the hell did he make his international debut with his own remake? He could certainly have told other more interesting and exciting stories… What a waste!
Cold Pursuit looks like a bad, modern variant of Fargo. It’s a soulless Fargo, a Fargo for stupid.
Until then keep watching Fargo!