It's not often that directors make a second scene at their own work. But Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland has undertaken the task of remaking his 2014 revenge thriller, "In Order of Disappearance", for the American public, now titled "Cold Pursuit". With Moland at the wheel, he can guarantee the preservation of the film dance of the tone, which is as dry as bone, black as ice, obscurely violent and ridiculously funny. Liam Neeson plays Nels Coxman, a modest snow plow driver in Colorado who avenges his son's death at the hands of a ruthless Denver drug syndicate (and no, this is not the film from the end of "Daddy's Home 2 ").
The snowy setting and free bloodshed recall the Coen brothers' Midwestern masterpieces – in particular "Fargo" – and while Emmy Rossum is wearing a fur cap and a singer-songwriter-style attitude as a village cop, she's not making Frances McDormand. The similarities are there, as well as Tarantino's suggestions and even moments reminiscent of the gangster drama of Jonathan Glazer "Sexy Beast", but "Cold Pursuit" is entirely his animal.
Neeson does not differ much from the fatherly routine of the wounded heart that he perfected from "Taken", which became a cultural shortcut for "vengeful father". Part of the fun of "Cold Pursuit" is to watch Nels maintain that wise composure as the world turns without control around him, becoming increasingly absurd while ripping through the layers of the criminal organization in his small Kehoe skiing village. Arà through the henchmen surnamed Speedo and Santa and Limbo, trying in vain to find out who is responsible, to decrease his pain.
The genius of "Cold Pursuit" resides mainly in the supporting cast. The oddballs play against the straight Nels citizen. Tom Bateman is a breakout, snarling at the infamy of the ruthless boss of the playboy drug Viking. As a father, he is the exact opposite of Nels – a freak of cold control and computer – and Bateman leans in the absurdity of his character, attracting more laughter but keeping a rag of realism. Domenick Lombardozzi brings a real nuance to the role of one of the heavy parts of Viking, Mustang, while Tom Jackson offers another paternity shadow like White Bull, a native American drug rival of Viking's revenge for his son. When the three fathers collide, the results are explosive.
The plot is complex, but the plot is simple. It is a story of fathers and sons, of blood on the snow and of hearts as black as ice. "A son for a child," says White Bull, and the story follows this notion to its most bloody ends, while the number of corpses builds up. The film asks you to accept the lost lives of the victims as a sort of sacrificial offering in the search for justice for a child.
"Cold Pursuit" does not have the existential weightings of the Coens, nor does it allow itself too much in the limpid bizarre pleasures of Tarantino. There are tips for hats and nods, but rather the film has a weakly nihilistic Scandinavian perspective. One might wonder what all this means, but reflecting on the issues of existence and morality in Kehoe is a crazy task. It's almost funny that "Cold Pursuit" creates a world where we do not have to do it – where we can let go of morality and convention for a couple of hours and delight us in the darker side of life.