Cold Pursuit 2019 ***

Liam Neeson’s self-deprecating attempt to create a debate on race, violence and revenge fell on deaf ears, or rather, social media pundits keen to take offence at his confession of an irrational impulse he didn’t act upon decades ago. The debate largely shifted to personal attacks on Neeson, and completely negated any attempt to shine a light on the film he was promoting, thriller Cold Pursuit. Hans Petter Moland’s remake of his own film from 2014, In Order of Disappearance, features Neeson as Nels Coxman, a snow-plough driver who seeks revenge when a drug cartel claims the life of his son. Neeson could probably eek out the rest of his career doing straight-up Mr Majestyk-style revenge dramas, but Cold Pursuit has a rather different angle to offer, with Neeson’s character often off-screen and a wider focus on how Coxman’s actions light a fuse that causes dissent within a turf war. Cold Pursuit has more of a Fargo vibe than say, Man on Fire, with a few jokes landing flat (a less-than-timely gag about Aqua’s Barbie Girl, a groaner about Indian hotel ‘reservations’) but there’s enough icy foreboding in the violent events to create a frisson, and there’s genuine underlying excitement heading into the final scenes. If this is Neeson’s last action film, then it’s a nice way to go out; Cold Pursuit subverts the revenge genre to offer a pithy commentary on how violence never leads anywhere good, which feels like it was Neeson’s original point in the first place.


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