A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.
‘In Order of Disappearance’ was an enjoyable 2014 film from Norway about a man who systematically tracks down the men responsible for the murder of his son, killing them one by one until he gets to the top. For whatever reason, director Hans Petter Moland has remade his own film, switching the location from Norway to Colorado, bringing in Liam Neeson in place of Stellan Skarsgard, and dialling up the dark humour, and it mostly works!
The original film combined a nihilistic streak with black comedy and that approach is replicated here, although in many respects I felt this was playing it more for laughs than ‘In Order for Disappearance’. Liam Neeson leads the cast as Nels, a snowplow driver leading a quiet life near a popular ski resort, when his son is found dead, supposedly from a heroin overdose. When Nels discovers the ‘heroin overdose’ was faked by the drug cartel his son was working for, he sets out to find the people responsible and bring them to justice. The film has a bit of a video game sensibility as Nels gradually works his way up the cartel’s hierarchy and the dark humour employed throughout is reminiscent of an Elmore Leonard novel or a Coen Brothers film, albeit the villains are mostly mere obstacles as opposed to characters in their own right. Tom Bateman’s ‘Viking’ is given the most screentime and his scenery chewing performance is occasionally fun, although it lacked the subtlety of Pal Sverre Hagen’s display as his counterpart in the Norwegian version. The film gets funnier as it develops, especially once a misunderstanding leads to a rival drug lord getting involved, leaving Nels in the middle of an increasingly absurd situation.
‘Cold Pursuit’ isn’t going to win any awards, but it’s one of Neeson’s finest recent thrillers as a leading man (‘Widows’ is of course much better), and this delivered far more laughs than many comedy films, not least the brilliant final scene that caps things off superbly.
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland
Starring: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, William Forsythe, Julia Jones, Domenick Lombardozzi, Raoul Trujillo, Benjamin Hollingsworth, John Doman and Aleks Paunovic