Director Hans Petter Moland’s thriller Cold Pursuit is sufficiently entertaining but ultimately inconsequential.
A man of few words, Nels Coxman is a snowplow driver in a small ski town. When his son is killed, Nels sets about finding those responsible, and enacting his revenge…
A remake of the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance (also directed by Moland), Cold Pursuit is a revenge thriller with a simple premise. The narrative does offer a little more than this, with action stirred up between rival gangs and a family strand. Other aspects seem at odds however.
Cold Pursuit’s main problem is the thinly written characters. There is no one to sympathise with. Nels is a stoic protagonist, but his lack of personality means that it is difficult to root for him and become fully engaged with his mission. Viking is a caricature villain, an antagonist befitting a pantomime rather than a thriller. Other characters are given little to do. The film seems to spend time on a few supporting characters to no end, such as the multiple scenes with the police officers that never actually go anywhere. It seems as if they were of more consequence, but this has been edited out. The dark humour works well at times, but film is tonally uneven. The shift from dark comedy to bleak violence and slightly back again is jarring.
Liam Neeson is not stretched in this role. Neeson has carved out a niche in the genre, with Taken on a Plane (Non-Stop) and Taken on a Train (The Commuter). Cold Pursuit could be Taken in the Snow, if it wasn’t for the darker tone and less punchier action. Tom Bateman hams it up as Viking with a less than convincing accent. Laura Dern is wasted in a minor role.
Cold Pursuit has some good sequences, and holds the attention sufficiently well. Yet the film is very forgettable.