Film Review: "Cold Pursuit" is an un-ice-pired remake of "In Order of Disappearance"
Cold Pursuit is a remake of Norweigan film In Order of Disappearance, from the same director, Hans Petter Moland. The remake, for the most part, follows the same plot devices as its predecessor: Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is the humble snow-plowing Citizen of the Year, until his son (why do action cinema villains have this grudge against Neeson’s fictional kids?) is found dead from an apparent overdose. The determined Nels takes it upon himself to find the real cause of death, and in doing so, he uncovers and sparks a gang war between the guilty local kingpin, Viking (Tom Bateman, doing a terrible joker impersonation), and the rival Canadian kingpin, White Bull (Tom Jackson).
To quote a friend who came along to the screening: “Cold Pursuit is a film where every scene feels like it was directed by a different director and they never communicated’.”
Not only do characters literally disappear on a whim (hope you’re not seeing this movie for Laura Dern); side-plots will melt away as quickly as they form, with no payoff whatsoever. Heck, even Neeson’s revenge plot is forgotten about and borderline abandoned forty dreadful minutes into Cold Pursuit. This meandering film is like driving through a snowstorm: you can’t see where it’s going, why it’s going there or who you’re supposed to be following.
The potentially gorgeous landscape of British Columbia is as lost as a tour guide after an avalanche, let down by flat and tiresome cinematography that looks as plain as the white snow. Aside from one neat stylistic choice to include black screens and tombstones for each characters death, the film is so shoddily edited that you will be forgiven for not knowing there has been a change in scene. You can also be forgiven for thinking the film isn’t chronological, as scenes are placed so incoherently that one might wonder if the original Norwegian screenplay was translated to English through Google Translate.
Neeson and the majority of the cast do what they can with what they’re given, and to their merit, the majority of the performances never wander into mediocrity. However, the film feels as if someone watched ‘Fargo’ and ‘Three Billboards out of Ebbing Missouri’ and attempted to capture the same witty calibre and biting commentary, without any of the thought or skill required to pull off such a feat.
Cold Pursuit is a comedy but it’s not funny. A thriller but there’s no thrills. A drama but there’s no drama and an action but bullets fly as often as snow falls in Perth. Like forgetting a jacket on a winters day, Cold Pursuit feels incomplete, painful and makes you wish you stayed home.