Film Review – Cold Pursuit (2019)

When the line between life and art is blurred, the consequences can sometimes be thrilling. The end results of Casey Affleck’s mocumentary I’m Still Here where a tad underwhelming, but for 12 exciting months there was a remarkable sense that Joaquin Phoenix may have actually gone off-grid and reinvented himself as a wild rap artist. Mel Gibson’s turn in The Beaver as a wildly unhinged businesses man coming not long after his public meltdown leant an otherwise middling movie a frisson of excitement. The blurring fact and fiction surrounding Liam Neeson’s latest outing is not so enjoyable. It’s hard to enjoy the Death Wish­-esque schlocky violence when the murderous lunatic is being played by a man who actually aspires to be a murderous lunatic.

Neeson’s baffling burst of racism his undoubtedly clouded, and arguably brought undeserved publicity to, a movie that likely-as-not would have otherwise burned fairly dimly and been extinguished with little fanfare. Cold Pursuit, a remake of 2014’s In Order of Disappearance, trundles along with such a lack of conviction, stranded in a middle-ground between violence and comedy, turning its hand at both and succeeding at precisely neither.

Never humorous or violent enough to be enjoyable, it provokes largely lethargy in its audience, occasionally graduating to irritation. The viewing experience can be likened to swallowing fifteen pints of Guinness in fairly quick succession. At first the idea – Neeson on now-familiar ground as a violent vigilante against a backdrop of the Colorado Rockies – seems a laugh. Three or four pints in and you begin to find it all a bit funny, there’s a giggle to be had here and there, but nothing substantial. At about the nine-pint mark, an hour into the movie, the charm has worn off and one finds oneself concerned only with getting through the task at hand in a state of consciousness. A dozen pints down, and as Liam begins to crack heads in earnest, the overwhelming feeling is a combination of sleepiness and nausea. Fifteen pints in, and as you approach a denouement slurred with tacky humour and tedious punch-up, the main concern seems only to be vacating the premises and finding a toilet quickly.

Tomorrow morning you’ll feel a little worse for wear and no wiser for the experience. You’ll almost certainly not remember the details either, which begs the question: was any of it worth it? One hopes Liam can learn from his mistake and think twice before mouthing off like a drunkard at the bar.

Chris Banks |

Action, Drama | Norway/USA , 2019 | 15 | 22nd February 2019 (UK) | Studiocanal | Dir.Hans Petter Moland | Liam Nesson, Laura Dern, Micheál Richardson, Michael Eklund, Tom Bateman

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