In Cold Pursuit, Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) lives a quiet life as a snowplow driver in the harsh winter conditions of Denver, Colorado. However, his simple existence comes crashing to a halt when his son dies under suspicious circumstances. As he seeks out the truth, he soon set out for vengeance against a psychotic drug lord named Viking (Tom Bateman) and his sleazy henchmen. As his quest turns violent, Coxman sets off a chain of events that includes a kidnapping, a series of deadly misunderstandings and a turf war between drug lords.
Directed by Hans Petter Moland, Cold Pursuit is an English language remake of his own film, In Order of Disappearance. Transporting the location from Norway to Denver, and substituting Stellan Skarsgard for Liam Neeson, Pursuitis a dark thriller with comic sensibilities. There is something unique about the film’s tone as each death is treated somewhat playfully, with epitaphs limited to the character’s mob nicknames and pop music played joyfully in the background. As the vengeful (but ‘citizen of the year’) Coxman, Neeson parodies the types of characters that gave him a career resurgence in recent years, as he energetically clears a path through the mob as his plow does the snow-covered roads.
Yet, somehow, in the midst of this, Coxman is a sympathetic character. Like many of Neeson’s characters, Coxman is an everyman who is simply pushed too far after the loss of his son. Though he’s willing to kill out of vengeance (after all, he read about it in a crime novel), we also see a side of him that is genuine and nurturing. He is a man who simply wants himself and his family to be left alone, after justice is service of course. There is little space for hope in this barren land, unless it comes at the end of a gun. In other words, this representation of Denver is a picture of what happens when darkness is permitted to run rampant.
Cold Pursuit is in theatres on February 8th, 2019