★★★ | Zach Hester
If you’re heading into the theater hoping to watch yet another Liam Neeson film where the biggest highlight is him constantly punching things, prepare to be somewhat disappointed. Instead, you get a dry, black comedy with violence sprinkled throughout in addition to the typical Neeson thriller we seem to get almost every January or February.
Cold Pursuit, the American remake of Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance, is a quirky dark comedy that features Neeson as a snowblower in Kehoe, who goes after the men that caused the surprising death of his son.
What Cold Pursuit feels like is the Great Value version of a Quentin Tarantino or Coen Brothers movie. It’s dry and desperate at times, but boasts an excellent cast who all give nuanced performances. Even Tom Bateman, who chews every word of dialogue as much as possible, is enjoyable to watch as the main antagonist. The action, as well, is on point.
Despite enjoying this film for the most part, it does have several large vices. There is a painful underuse of Laura Dern and female characters in general. They’re either thrown into the background or just stuck in for comic effect. In addition, there are some pointed racial material that feels insensitive instead of tonally funny at times.
The cinematography and editing definitely work. It’s easy to make snow look pretty but the camera work does an excellent job capturing wherever this was filmed. The film is set in Colorado but based on the production design…you can definitely tell it isn’t in the United States.
Cold Pursuit is definitely not the tried-and-true Liam Neeson thriller that we start every cinematic year with. Despite going for more in terms of cinematography and comedy, Cold Pursuit does drag and at times, feels a little insensitive. As a whole, it’s a fun ride in most aspects, but prepare to leave the theater really wondering what kind of film you just finished watching.