Cold Pursuit is a slightly above average Liam Neeson thriller based on the Norwegian In Order of Disappearance (Norwegian: Kraftidioten) a 2014 black comedy action film directed by Hans Petter Moland and starring Stellan Skarsgård.
It’s pretty much what you would expect from a Liam Neeson thriller except the director has clearly watched a Tarntino film or two and has decided to try and incorporate that by having everyone who dies name and nickname pop up on screen when they die and erm…..
Hmmm… An Elephant? I don’t see any Elephants in the middle of this review.
Nope nope nope.
I see some ok action, some pretty flat characterization, a couple of wasted characters in the police officers who throw up a potential twist or two that the film merrily ignores on it’s way to a utterly conventional finale.
It’s a solid film. It’s no Taken (what is?) but it’s a hell of a lot better than Battleship. If it gets put on at DVD and beer nights then I won’t run screaming from the room but I may well pop open another beer because… well….
Liam, how could you?
Yeah, 189 words into this review and I have to talk about what anyone is talking about in relation to this film.- Liam Neesons ‘confession’ that his character’s “primal” anger to an interviewer by recounting an experience he had many years ago. A woman close to him said she had been raped by a stranger, and Neeson asked what color skin the attacker had; after learning the attacker was black, Neeson said that for about a week, he “went up and down areas with a cosh … hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go” so that Neeson “could kill him”. In the interview, Neeson also said he was “ashamed” to recount the experience and that it was “horrible” that he did what he did. “It’s awful … but I did learn a lesson from it, when I eventually thought, ‘What the fuck are you doing?'”
In an appearance on Good Morning America, Neeson elaborated on his experience while denying being a racist, saying the incident occurred nearly 40 years ago, that he asked for physical attributes of the rapist other than race, that he would have done the same if the rapist was “a Scot or a Brit or a Lithuanian”, that he had purposely gone into “black areas of the city”, and that he “did seek help” from a priest after coming to his senses. Neeson said that the lesson of his experience was “to open up, to talk about these things”, as there was still underlying “racism and bigotry” in both the United States and Northern Ireland. The controversy Neeson’s comments caused led to the cancellation of the red carpet event for the premiere of Cold Pursuit.
Now, as loathe as I am to comment on events that happened well over a decade before I was born, especially given that Neeson appears to have committed no crime, admitted that he was wrong, sought help for his actions and well, growing up in Norther Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ (Which I won’t go into here as I am in no way shape or for qualified to do so.) With violence lurking around every corner, then I can sort of understand where he’s coming from.
Now, my respect for Liam Neeson as an actor is boundless – Schindlers List is one of the most affecting films I’ve ever seen, Taken is one of my favorite action films and even the Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe is a very solid kids film. But, how do I react to this admission?
I think that we should examine it, place it in context, and… then have the debate about rage, anger, vengeance and the way that we deal with that Neeson was trying to provoke. (Here’s the link to the interview to make up your own mind : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn0hosTSzjM )
As far as I can tell, Neeson isn’t a racist, he simply reacted badly to a situation almost 40 years ago, he sought help for it and his frankly baffling decision to tell this story has not only killed this slightly above average film but has probably ended his career as well (Although I thought he was going to stop doing these types of films after The Commuter.)
Side note: Can someone check on his PR person? I think they need a beer or ten.
Summing up, Cold Pursuit is a pretty good action film with some chuckle worthy moments, interesting if slightly flat characters, a missed twist or two that were just crying out to be made and some okay action. Also, thanks to an utterly baffling answer by it’s star it’s going to sink like a lead lined balloon.
My Score- If Nothing Else