‘Blu-ray or Bust’
COLD PURSUIT (2019, R, 119 minutes, STUDIOCANAL/LIONSGATE)
A few years ago, writer and director Hans Petter Moland offered up a wonderful gem of a film called IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE.
In it, a father, played the amazing Stellan Skarsgard (the nutty professor of THOR and various Marvel films) played a grieving Norwegian father and snowplow driver who sets off on a path of murderous revenge, determined to destroy all those responsible for his son’s death. Casting Mr. Skarsgard in the role of Nils Dickman was sheer genius; his thoughtful, hilarious performance of a man that has no idea what he is doing when it comes to dealing out death turned a simple revenge story into one of caustic redemption. There was a deep, underlying morality play working just behind his sorrowful eyes, one which made this working-class man a relatable and sympathetic hero.
And the supporting cast was just as reliable. Bruno Ganz as a Serbian mob boss, who also loses a son to at the hands of a drug kingpin known as “The Count” is a ruthless and calculated man—the polar opposite of Nils, and a telling contrast. He has the resources to extract his revenge, and isn’t afraid to use them—unlike the improbable Nils, who has to learn as he goes.
Ultimately, the film works on several distinct levels, partly due to the brilliant script by Kim Fupz Aakeson. He gives each and every character a reason to be present, and he cares for them—even the reprehensible ones. Each of these are people, individuals living their lives unapologetically for the most part, and dealing with the consequences of their actions.
Did I mention the comedy aspect? It serves as a third character, this dark humor which pervades throughout the story. Much of it comes from Nils learning how to kill, or dispose of bodies. But for as much of it that comes at the aging plow driver’s expense, there is a hefty amount aimed at the preposterousness of the situations. A heavy sarcasm guides the proceedings like an all-knowing dungeon master who giggles fiercely at every dark turn.
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Shawn—where’s the review for the Liam Neeson flick, you monkeyhole?” Well, if you want a review of an entirely needless and passionless Hollywood remake BY THE SAME DUDE THAT DIRECTED THE ORIGINAL, FOR THE LOVE OF THE SWEET BABY HEY-ZEUS, I’ll give you one.
The original was a helluva lot better.
Film Grade: D+
Special Features: (No clue. I’m too busy watching the original now to regale meself with any more Hollywood BS.)
Blu-ray Necessary: The original, sure. This one? HELL NAW.