Cold Pursuit

Writing Movie “WRONGS

By Jim West


Cold Pursuit

Directed by Hans Petter Moland

Written by Frank Baldwin

Based upon a Norwegian Film, In Order of Disappearance (2014), this film translates well with the same director helming the American remake.  Liam Neeson turns in a subdued performance as a father of a grown son who gets murdered by drug dealers, and takes his revenge by killing them one by one.  This black comedy action film has a few surprising laughable moments by way of how people get taken out, but ultimately the film feels a bit flat and lacking of some emotional core.

Here comes the spoilers.

Nelson Coxman (Neeson) is a simple man who drives a snowplow to keep the roads leading to his Colorado ski resort town of Kehoe clear of snow.  The film has fantastic shots of the frigid landscape and perhaps this lifestyle may lend a hand to how stoic Nelson is when reacting to things in his life such as receiving an honorary award as citizen of the year from the town.  His son works at the small airport as a baggage handler and due to a mix up from his co-worker who stole some drugs; he gets kidnapped and killed by drug overdose.  Now maybe it is cliché to see the typical parents seeing their child dead on a morgue slab scene crying and being emotional but that is what I would expect.  Then there are the scenes afterwards between Nelson and his wife who eventually and conveniently leaves him as she had a long standing strained relationship with him anyways.  Perhaps more so that he doesn’t communicate what he is thinking or feeling ever.  This is what feels off…the feels.  I would like to have seen Nelson give in to his emotions during each kill more and more as he releases his anguish and grief over time.  Yet he basically portrays the same character from his other action films, but with such a subdued performance that it makes you wonder if this is him phoning in a performance.

So to improve this film write in with each kill him having a reaction to the kill.  Perhaps a moment where he lets the cold façade crumble into tears that would eventually lead to a release of rage.  Consider that these peop0le he is killing killed his son, and his brother.  I mean plenty of reasons to become emotional.  When he interacts with the young son of the head drug boss that he kidnaps towards the climax of the film, he should have flashbacks of his own son to bring the viewers back into his connection with his son.  This would serve this film well and allow Neeson to display some depth in character.  Revenge is a dish best served cold, but Cold Pursuit is simply too cold of a film from an emotional perspective to really connect to the story.

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