Amid controversy surrounding Liam Neeson, Cold Pursuit tells a classic and brutal revenge story that doesn’t pull any punches. Although this may seem like just another Neeson revenge thriller, the film is actually quite refreshing, abound with quirkiness and dark humor. Cold Pursuit is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian film, In Order of Disappearance, both directed by Hans Petter Moland. The main plot plays out like a classic revenge movie: Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) snowplow driver/ family man who’s life takes a dark turn when his son winds up dead from an apparent heroin overdose. He soon discovers that his son was actually murdered by the mafia, and he starts finding leads on members of the gang and murders them one by one with no remorse. Eventually he hires a hit man to take down the boss (Tom Bateman), but when the hit man compromises Coxman’s identity, his “cold pursuit” starts to heat up.
The film is generally effective in its storytelling, making the audience root for the main character and building up anticipation for the final showdown. However, the movie loses its momentum in the middle part, with almost nothing happening compared to the constant action that occurred in the beginning after the inciting incident. In fact, there are long periods of time where the main character is entirely absent, making the audience feel isolated from the protagonist. This ultimately leaves the audience to care less about his goals and allow awkward gaps in character progression to emerge. Also, the film features several subplots that all eventually go nowhere, such as one about two cops who aren’t accustomed to dealing with the extreme violence that’s suddenly occurring, but rather than build up a strong and compelling subplot, the film uses the duo only to provide quick comic relief and somewhat forced exposition. Luckily, although the subplots were lackluster, the main plot is fairly strong. It’s efficient and to the point, which does itself justice in this case.
The cinematography is also excellent and plays an important part in the tone and story, featuring vast landscapes of snow covered nature and icy cliffs, providing ideal backdrops for the protagonist to exact his revenge on unsuspecting gangsters. These are arguably the most exciting and entertaining moments of the movie, showing how meticulous Coxman is and how far this man is willing to go to avenge his son.
Overall, Cold Pursuit offers a fairly entertaining revenge story that brings new aspects to the table. Although there are several pacing issues that ultimately take away from the main plot by providing unnecessary attention to meaningless subplots, the movie more or less makes up for it by providing a compelling and story, accompanied by stark imagery and quirky undertones.