Violence begets violence. If you want revenge, that’s probably a bad idea. It just leads to more negativity and hurt for more people than you would ever think possible. Cold Pursuit takes this excellent message and absolutely butchers it.
If you’re looking for an example of a movie that does a poor job with characterization and explaining character motivations, then look no further than The Grey Taken – I mean, Cold Pursuit. This is a movie that says, “Remember how Liam Neeson has been playing the exact same character for the past 11 years? Well we’re just going to have him keep playing this character and you’re not allowed to ask questions about his motivations or ability!”
Neeson’s son is killed within the first 15 minutes of the movie, which prompts him to try and exact revenge on his killers. The problem is, there has been no evidence up to this point in the movie that this character is capable of this kind of violence and murder. He isn’t an ex-CIA agent, a dead-eye sniper, or an air marshal. He’s just a guy that won Citizen of the Year (why? Who knows?!) and drives a giant snow plow in Colorado for a living. But since his son was killed, he now has the ability to go after the people that killed him – to climb up the ladder until he reaches the top – and kill them all.
This is where the movie begins to wink at its audience. Each time someone is killed, a sort of epitaph appears on the screen. “See?? Look how many people are dying,” it says. And yes, we are seeing all these people that are dying. Your attempt at dark humor isn’t working, movie.
I think there could have been a more nuanced approach this movie could have taken to make its point. But whatever that approach was, Cold Pursuit decided to attempt a dark comedy. The problem is, the “comedy” isn’t funny, dark or otherwise. It just seems wholly out of place. And that’s how I felt about the movie in general. In a time when films are doing a great job at tackling sensitive subjects with care and skill, this movie is just… not. It is simply out of place and a waste of great potential.