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Cold Pursuit is a 2019 American black comedy action thriller film directed by Hans Petter Moland (in his Hollywood debut) from a screenplay by Frank Baldwin. It stars Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, William Forsythe, and Tom Bateman. It is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian vigilante film In Order of Disappearance, also directed by Moland, and follows a snowplow driver who sets out for revenge on a local drug lord following the murder of his son. The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019, by Summit Entertainment. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences and the dark humor.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hans Petter Moland|
|Written by||Frank Baldwin|
|Based on||In Order of Disappearance|
by Kim Fupz Aakeson
|Music by||George Fenton|
|Edited by||Nicolaj Monberg|
|Distributed by||Summit Entertainment|
|Box office||$19.5 million|
Cold Pursuit is a 2019 American black comedy action thriller film directed by Hans Petter Moland (in his Hollywood debut) from a screenplay by Frank Baldwin. It stars Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, William Forsythe, and Tom Bateman. It is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian vigilante film In Order of Disappearance, also directed by Moland, and follows a snowplow driver who sets out for revenge on a local drug lord following the murder of his son.
The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019, by Summit Entertainment. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the action sequences and the dark humor.
Nelson Coxman's quiet life as a snowplow driver in the glitzy Colorado ski resort of Kehoe, where he was just awarded "Citizen of the Year", is disrupted when his son dies from a heroin overdose. Nels' wife has a psychotic breakdown over her son's death and leaves her husband in her grief.
A depressed Coxman is about to commit suicide when he learns that his son was murdered by a drug cartel. This causes him to become a vigilante, killing three members of the cartel and sinking their bodies in a nearby river. The cartel’s leader, Trevor "Viking" Calcote, suspects that these deaths are the work of Native American drug lord White Bull, with whom he has earlier avoided conflict. Viking abducts and murders White Bull's only son, which sparks a gang war between the two cartels.
Viking eventually learns that Coxman has killed his men, and tries in vain to call off the gang war, not realizing White Bull intends to exact revenge through a blood debt, "a son for a son". Meanwhile, Coxman kidnaps Viking's son from his prep school in an attempt to draw the drug lord into an ambush. Despite abducting the boy, Coxman treats him well and avoids putting his life in jeopardy.
Viking's gang arrive at Coxman's ambush, which is unsuccessful, and he is captured alive. White Bull's gang arrives shortly thereafter with the intention of vengeance. During the ensuing shootout, most of the gangsters are killed. Viking is crushed by having a shorn tree dropped on his car and is then shot in the chest by White Bull.
Viking dies later when found by Kehoe police Detectives Kimberly Dash and her partner Gip. As Coxman leaves the property in his snowplow to continue his work, White Bull jumps into the cab and the two men drive away together. The last remaining enforcer for White Bull's cartel accidentally paraglides into the snowplow and is chopped to bits.
The participation of actor Liam Neeson, director Hans Petter Moland and producers Michael Shamberg and StudioCanal were announced in January 2017. In March 2017, Domenick Lombardozzi, Emmy Rossum, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Laura Dern, William Forsythe, Julia Jones, and John Doman joined the cast of the film. The next month, Aleks Paunovic joined.
In November 2017, Summit Entertainment acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film. It is scheduled to be released on February 8 in the United States and on February 22 in the United Kingdom.
In the United States and Canada, Cold Pursuit was released alongside What Men Want, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and The Prodigy, and was projected to gross $7–10 million from 2,630 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $3.6 million on its first day, including $540,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $11.03 million, finishing third behind The Lego Movie 2 and What Men Want.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 74% based on 118 reviews, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cold Pursuit delivers the action audiences expect from a Liam Neeson thriller -- along with humor and a sophisticated streak that make this an uncommonly effective remake." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3 out of 5 stars and a 42% "definite recommend".
Chris Nashawaty, writing for Entertainment Weekly, delivered a positive review, grading it with a "B+", saying: "If [Cold Pursuit] sounds like murder-by-numbers Liam Neeson Mad Libs, well, it kind of is. But what sets Cold Pursuit apart from its predecessors is its tone. It has the jokey, self-amused vibe of an Elmore Leonard novel or one of those arch, wannabe Tarantino knock-offs that sprouted up like toadstools in the wake of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and were quickly forgotten. It knows exactly what kind of movie it is, but that doesn’t stand in the way of it goosing its bloodbath set pieces with irreverent, off-kilter gallows humor." Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, praised the film, awarding it 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying, "As characters with nicknames such as Sly and Mustang and Smoke and War Dog and Shiv and Drayno enter and often quickly exit the picture, Cold Pursuit moves forward with the assured and deliberate force of Nels' massive snowplow. And with Neeson/Nels at the wheel, Cold Pursuit is one fantastically hot mess of a movie." In contrast, Sarah Melton of Exclaim! gave the film 4/10, writing: "There's too little information about the characters to be meaningfully invested in them, while the film's attempts to find humour in over-the-top violence rarely land."
Liam Neeson was accused of racism after an interview with The Independent was published in February 2019. Speaking at a press junket for the film, Neeson explained his character's "primal" anger 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.