Film Review: COLD PURSUIT (USA 2019)

Cold Pursuit Poster

A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.


Frank Baldwin (screenplay by), Kim Fupz Aakeson (based on the movie ‘Kraftidioten’ written by)

Back in 2014, out of Norway arrived a taut, intelligent noir thriller from director Hans Petter Moland entitled IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE so called because the father of the boy killed by a drug lord kills of, in revenge, one dealer after another until reaching him.  The film was violent,, absorbing and extremely funny with the father, Nils played by Stellan Skarsgard tossing the bodies one after another wrapped in chicken wire over the waterfalls.  COLD PURSUIT is the Hollywood remake, directed by the same director.

Th protagonist is now called Nels (Liam Neeson), short for Nelson.  Nels Coxman’s quiet life as a snowplow driver in a glitzy Rocky Mountains resort town where he was just awarded Citizen of the Year is disrupted when his beloved son is murdered under mysterious circumstances.  His search for the cause turns into a quest for revenge against a psychotic drug lord named Viking ((British Tom Bateman). Using his hunting skills to transform himself from upstanding citizen to cold-blooded vigilante, Coxman sets out to dismantle the cartel, triggering a chain of events leading to a turf war between Viking and a rival boss.

The best segment in IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE, one that I have watched 5 times deserves mention.  In it, the drug lord is seated in his design furniture chair with a hole in its back rest peering through the hole to see his ex-wife angrily entering the house demanding to find the son’s gym bag and questioning his parenting skills.  He gives her a wad of cash saying that she can use it to find a dozen more gym bags and he has an important and difficult job (drugs) to do.  She questions the son’s eating, probably fruit loops to which he screams: “Fruit loops?  Fruit loops?  I am vegan and I make sure my son eats the proper food.”  He keeps screaming at her  but she has left the house.  The ensuing scene has the boy eating fruit loops in the kitchen with his employees.  In the remake, the drug lord, Viking talks about the food that he is feeding the boy.  No mention of fruit loops.  The furniture with the gaping the back rest is no longer there.  The next scene has the boy eating ‘fruit pebbles’.   There go the original’s classic scene.

In the remake the native Indians replace the Serbs as the rival drug gang.  There is more sympathy for the natives than the Serbs, so one up for this change in script by Frank Baldwin.

Both COLD PURSUIT and DISAPPEARANCE ends with the credits of all the players listed on the screen, with the names disappearing one by one in order of disappearance from the film.  This  impressive segment makes no sense in COLD PURSUIT but makes total sense in the original movie.

COLD PURSUIT is almost a scene for scene remake.  

COLD PURSUIT ends up a lazy and uninspired Hollywood remake of the Norwegian IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE that was on my top 10 list of best films of the year in 2014. Trailer:



Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2018. Go to TIFF 2018 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

A young woman named Savannah Knoop spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law.


Justin Kelly


Justin KellySavannah Knoop (memoir) | 1 more credit »

Laura Albert (Laura Dern) writes tough, insightful fiction under a pseudonym, JT LeRoy. Her JT is not just a pen name but a whole persona, a teenage boy from West Virginia living a dangerous life as a truck stop sex worker.  Laura was born in Brooklyn a generation earlier, and grew up in New York’s punk scene.  Writing books such as The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things as JT gives her complete freedom to explore the darker regions of human experience. Readers and the media love it so much that they begin to demand JT in person.  

As journalists press for interviews with JT, turmoil mounts with Laura’s husband Geoffrey (Jim Sturgess) and sister-in-law Savannah (Kristen Stewart).  Partly from desperation, partly for kicks, they conspire to have Savannah don a wig and sunglasses, adjust her voice, and become the teenage boy author.   Despite everything being based on a true story, Kelly’s film is extremely dull.  He makes no attempt to make the events authentic or to make Savannah believable as JT.  Whenever she appears as JT, she mumbles all along and the media and everyone takes it in from Cannes to Paris to the U.S. 

 Worst of all is the pretentious bit at the film’s end where Laura preaches to the audience that everyone has to be the person he or she is.


Part 18 Poster
Cooper and Diane drive 430 miles. Cooper attempts to help a troubled woman he believes to be Laura Palmer.


David Lynch


Kyle MacLachlanMatt BattagliaLaura Dern

by Mary Cox

“Part 18: What is your name?”

Anyone hoping for a satisfying conclusion to the series is going to be sorely disappointed as David Lynch has decided to leave us with yet another cliffhanger. After Agent Cooper and Diane manage to jump dimensions (or something) and after yet another awkward sex scene, we learn that the Fireman’s
aforementioned Richard and Linda are none other than Diane and Coop themselves. So much for my Richard Horne theory, right?

Again, Mike (The One-Armed Man) gives us the ultimate question and central theme of this season: is it future, or is it past? The episode ends abruptly with an uncertain conclusion. This seems to be the fate of all of the Blue Rose operatives. Once they get close enough to unraveling the mystery of Judy and
the Owl Cave Ring, their reality is pulled apart and reshaped by an unseen force. Consider both the fates of Major Briggs and Phillip Jeffries.

Unanswered questions: What the hell is up with Audrey? I have a theory that the Peaks world we know, where Cooper is still Cooper, and Laura is dead and wrapped in plastic, exists only in Audrey’s coma mind. I think that the symbol on the Owl Cave Ring is meant to reference the concept of either looping time or infinity, but what does that mean for Cooper? Who are Tina and Billy? The only good news about the ending of this episode is that it leaves open the possibility for a fourth season. This is highly unlikely, but hey, you never know what’s going to happen in another twenty-five years.

My takeaway here is still that the majority of the episodes this season (and possibly those from the first two seasons) are meant to be read as existing in a “dreamworld,” so to speak. From the all-tooconvenient ways Dougie escapes from disasters, leading all the way up to the too-perfect reunion of the characters right at the Twin Peaks sheriff office in “Part 17,” everything that went down was a part of someone’s dream. The question posed by Monica Bellucchi in “Part 14” does remain, though: “Who is the dreamer?” As I’ve mentioned before, this “false dream reality” storytelling device is something David Lynch has used in his past works pretty consistently. We’ve seen it as a major element in both
Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. That absolutely could be what’s going on here as well.

Ultimately, if you want to try to figure out what the hell is going on: my recommendation that you take a break from Twin Peaks for a few weeks. When you’re ready, come back and revisit the series from start to finish (it goes without saying that you also have to include Fire, Walk With Me) and see what
you think Twin Peaks is really all about. We now (presumably) have all of the pieces of the puzzle, so it’s up to you to try and put it together to see the whole picture.

“Mary Cox is an entertainment writer from the United States. Her hobbies include making good beer and bad decisions, watching drag queens fight on the internet, and overanalyzing everything. Mary one day hopes to be the person shouting “World Star” in the back of a Waffle House brawl video. She is currently tolerating life in Toronto. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_K_Cox”t

Film Review: CERTAIN WOMEN (USA 2016) ***

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certain_womenThe lives of three women intersect in small-town America, where each is imperfectly blazing a trail.

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writers: Kelly Reichardt (screenplay), Maile Meloy (based on stories by)
Stars: Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern

Review by Gilbert Seah

CERTAIN WOMEN tells three different stories about women, the common thread that the stories, among another things are set in Montana. Unlike films with many stories, writer/director Kelly Reichardt (WENDY AND LUCY, OLDJOY, MEEK’S CUTOFF) does not intercut the stories into one narrative but rather tells each story on its own, one after another. The advantage of this strategy (and the one I prefer) is that the continuity of each story is un-compromised.

The first story involves a female lawyer, Laura (Laura Dern) defusing a hostage situation and calming her disgruntled client (Jared Harris). The second has a married couple (Michelle Williams and James Le Gros) breaking ground on a new home but exposing marital fissures when they try to persuade an elderly man to sell his stockpile of sandstone. The third and final story is of a ranch hand (Lily Gladstone) forming an attachment to a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart), who inadvertently finds herself teaching a twice-weekly adult education class, four hours from her home. These are independent women whose lives finally intersect in a powerful way. These stories are based on short stories from Maile Meloy’s collection Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.

Reichardt ’s films have a strong feminine content. This is not a bad thing if done right. Reichardt demonstrates the feminine content in a clever subtle as evident in the first story. The first story begins with the female lawyer, Laura after a lunch time love-making in a rented room. The two are never shown together. She is seen in the bedroom while he is the bathroom. When he enters the bedroom, his figure is shown in the mirror. Never once do the male and female appear on he same side of the screen. The male and female are distinct, they have different roles in each story and Reichardt emphasizes the female roles.

Often in films with a strong female content by a female director, the male characters are depicted as silly or spineless. Thankfully, this is not the case in CERTAIN WOMEN. If the males have to answer to the female, there is a least a legitimate reason. In the first story, the lawyer’s client (Jared Harris) has made an error and has suffered severe mental, physical and financial loss. When he breaks down crying (a crying male is too often used in a female director’s film to show that they too have sensitivity), it illustrates at least, a credible state of affairs.

The female characters are all involved with the typical male roles in society. Laura Dern is a lawyer, who ends up as a hostage negotiator. Michelle Williams makes the family decisions especially on the construction of their new house to buy sandstones from an elderly gentleman. The husband admits too, to the old gent in on scene that she is the boss.

Women films are strong this month with the release of both CERTAIN WOMEN at TIFF Bell Lightbox and the Hollywood comedy SNATCHED on Mother’s Day



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