Provokr Pick: Cold Pursuit

Liam Neeson's Subversive Revenge Tale

BY: Zak Wojnar; Editor Claire Connors

Over the past decade, Liam Neeson has starred in a ton of action movies. Some have been good (Taken), some have been bad (Taken 2), and some have been truly great (Run All Night), but the late-bloomer action star has seen his fair share of high-octane thrillers in the last few years.

The latest entry in the Liam Neeson action canon is Cold Pursuit, which comes at a perfect juncture in the actor’s career. Now that he’s long been established as a man of action, this film comes along that takes great joy in subverting audience expectations and throwing thematic curve balls and every opportunity. Cold Pursuit has more in common with something like Fargo than with Taken.

Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a low-key snowplow driver who becomes obsessed with revenge after his son is murdered in a staged “drug overdose.” Initially a power fantasy about avenging the death of a loved one, the film quickly escalates as Coxman’s selfish – if undeniably righteous – revenge winds up inadvertently triggers a large-scale gang war in the otherwise quiet Rocky Mountains community.

Co-starring Tom Jackson and Tom Bateman as dueling gang bosses who wind up going to war as a result of a misunderstanding of Coxman’s actions, and Laura Dern as Coxman’s wife who refuses to be part of his power fantasy, Cold Pursuit is as violent and morose as it is entertaining and hilarious. Marked with numerous bouts of pitch black comedy, Cold Pursuit is distinctly European in its sensibilities, and for good reason; directed by Hans Petter Moland, Cold Pursuit is actually a remake of the director’s 2014 film, In Order of Disappearance, starring Stellan Skarsgård in the Liam Neeson role.

Cold Pursuit is in theaters now.