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Review: Cold Pursuit – “Like watching Taken in a fridge while really, really high”

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Hans Petter Moland directs Cold Pursuit – the remake of his own film Kraftidioten – replacing original star Stellan Skarsgård (Dancer in the Dark) with Liam Neeson (The Grey). The film also stars Laura Dern (Wild at Heart), Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express) and Emmy Rossum (The Phantom of the Opera).

Nels Coxman (Neeson) is a snow plough driver in the rocky mountains. He lives a quiet life with his wife, Grace (Dern), keeping the roads clear and his head down. But the night he wins the town’s citizen of the year award, he also finds out that his son has been murdered by drug dealers and sets out for revenge on a series of improbably named baddies.

Neeson has been making this film for fifteen years now, but Cold Pursuit is tonally totally different from his previous revenge action-thrillers. There is an odd air to Cold Pursuit – it’s not funny, but… weird. Things happen and lines are delivered that could be construed as gags, but either the timing is dragged out so long — like an extended shot of his son’s body being laboriously cranked up into shot — or a comic line is explained so thoroughly, that any humour is murdered and the events just become surreal.

“How much of this is intentional?”, you will ask constantly throughout as your sanity is slowly eroded by baffling occurrence after bonkers line and you start to laugh out of pure befuddlement.

Neeson is the same as ever but feels a little more tired, while Dern ducks out the moment their son dies never to be seen again. Bateman’s crime kingpin is an amusing wildly inconsistent maniac: ordering killings one second, and his son to eat nothing but steak and vegetables three-times-a-day the next, while Rossum plays a likeable rookie cop that is promising and interesting but never really gets anything to do.

Swinging back and forth between being bizarre and a bit boring, Cold Pursuit is like watching Taken in a fridge while really, really high.

Cold Pursuit is released in the UK on the 22nd of February.

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