Cold Pursuit turned out to be like nothing I had imagined, and yet, just what I thought.
What do I mean by that? Good question. Well, the film itself was not like other type of revenge films that Liam Neeson has become quite well-known for, and yet shares much of the same DNA of that kind of film. About halfway through the movie, I made a decision.
This is a satire of revenge films.
After making that analysis, lots of things that did not make much sense worked much better. The comedy, which might seem to be trying too hard to be dark, makes more sense and fits the tone more. The types of characters and their development can be understood. Everything works better.
Either that or I am reading way too much into this movie.
Liam Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a snowplow operator in the city of Kehoe, Colorado, about 3 hours outside of Denver, and he is constantly busy clearing paths for the vehicles to even move. So much so that he is dubbed the “man of the year” by a grateful community.
However, his ideal and happy life takes a dark turn when his son winds up killed by drug dealers, sending Coxman into a downward spiral. It destroys his marriage to Laura Dern (who is criminally underused in this movie) and sends him to the verge of suicide. When Coxman discovers that his son was not involved with the drug dealers but was, instead, an innocent victim, he turned his vitriol outward toward the drug dealers that were to blame.
The fact that Liam Neeson is the star of the movie helps give this credit because he is so involved in other types of this genre. Here, Neeson plays a man who does not seem to be former military or trained assassin. He is a snowplow operator. Still he becomes a killing machine and continually disposed of the bodies in the same manner, a way he saw on TV. That seems to me to be a shot at one of the typical tropes of revenge movies and using Liam Neeson to personify that is awesome.
The villains are all strange and eccentric, but go against the type you would normally see in revenge flicks. The main villain, Viking (Tom Bateman) is just a total bizarre drug lord who is all over the place. We see his relationship with his son (Nicholas Holmes), which was strange as could be. Viking wanted his son to eat a strict diet and act in certain manner and could not see that he was anything but what he had wanted. Nicholas Holmes’s character was not your typical child in these film either and his eventual connection with Liam Neeson was very sweet.
There was a very funny bit that happened every time someone was killed during the movie, and there were a lot of people killed during the movie. The body count was definitely high but I thought they did a decent job of maintaining the violence level. There was blood, but the scene was not just about the blood that was spilled.
Watching this as a satire/spoof makes some of the characters fit better too. There was a character named The Eskimo that could be looked at in a different light in a satire of revenge movies.
As a satire, the ridiculously generic movie title works too. Just sayin’.
I was entertained by the movie. Of course, if I were looking at this with a different spectrum, then I could see many problems, but as I approached this as a satire, those problems turned into positives.
Or I am completely off track.