When the son of the town's snowplow driver Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) is murdered, the snow town of Kehoe is shaken up. It seems that Viking (Tom Bateman), a flamboyant drug lord is to blame. The police in the glitzy Rocky Mountains ski resort town are not used to much action. Fuelled by rage, Nels takes the law into his own hands, sparking a turf war between Viking and White Bull (Tom Jackson), a native American mafia boss.
Review by Louise Keller: The setting is white - snowy white - but the film's sensibility is black. All black. True to its Norwegian filmic origins, Hans Petter Moland's remake of his 2014 thriller Kraftidioten is blackly funny, overtly violent and filled with a snow plow of quirky elements. And it has Liam Neeson. Comedy is serious business and to its credit, the film is never played for laughs. It's the characters that splash colour onto Moland's cinematic palette and the cumulative effect of all the disparate elements happily collide as Liam Neeson's protagonist becomes a vigilante in search of vengeance for his murdered son.
If Cold Pursuit were a piece of music, I might describe its tempo as staccato. There is a disjointed feel about the proceedings, keeping us constantly on edge as different characters pop in and out as they deliver shocks and surprises. It's satirical, irreverent and politically incorrect.
On a backdrop of breathtaking scenery high in the Rocky Mountains, we first meet Neeson's snow plow driver Nels Coxman and respected family man, as he is awarded the ski-town of Kehoe's top honour of Citizen of the Year. The shock of the sudden murder of his son changes everything, as Nels follows the undesirable characters who become his stepping stones on the road to vengeance. Fists, bullets, chicken wire, icy waterfalls and the vast waterways soon are a way of life and the body count rises quickly.
A running gag is the revelation of the many quirky nicknames: Limbo, The Eskimo, Mustang, Sly, Wingman, Viking and White Bull. Their stylish demise is well documented. The latter three play the biggest part as a turf war erupts between the Denver drug lord Viking (Tom Bateman, superbly irritating) and the American Indian White Bull (singer Tom Jackson, solid). I like the incongruous relationship dynamics between the couples. They are odd indeed. William Forsythe's Wingman and his domineering Thai wife, who makes filing nails look dangerous. And there is Viking and his supercilious ex-wife (Julia Jones). The poison in the air is tangible. Wait for the moment when Viking's young son (Nicholas Holmes) comes up with the line about Stockholm Syndrome. And watch for Kehoe's cop duo, winningly played by Emmy Rossum and John Doman.
It's good to see Neeson in a film that offers more than just action. His credibility and charisma are critical to the film's success and bring warmth to what might otherwise have been a bloody rollercoaster ride.