(director: Hans Petter Moland; screenwriters: Frank Baldwin/based on the movie “Kraftidioten” written by Kim Fupz Aakeson; cinematographer: Philip Øgaard; editor: Nicolaj Monberg; music: George Fenton; cast: Liam Neeson (Nels Coxman), Laura Dern (Grace Coxman), Tom Bateman (Viking), Tom Jackson (White Bull), Emmy Rossum (Kim Dash), Domenick Lombardozzi (Mustang), John Doman (Gip), Julia Jones (Aya), Micheál Richardson (Kyle Coxman), Nicholas Holmes (Ryan); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul Schwartzman, Michael Dreyer, Shana Eddy-Grouf, Didier Lupfer; Summit Entertainment; 2019)
“A bloody funny revenge noir film.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland’s (“Hard Powder”/”A Conspiracy of Faith“) remake in English of his 2014 thriller Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance) is a winner despite its implausible plot and cartoonish violence. It’s a bloody funny revenge noir film written by Frank Baldwin. It’s one of the star’s better revenge films–a Taken, but in the snow.Nelson Coxman (Liam Neeson) is a regular guy snowplow driver in the fictional ski resort mountain town of Kehoe, Colorado, who receives a “citizen of the year” award for keeping the town roads plowed. During the ceremony the respected family man’s innocent teen son Kyle (Micheál Richardson) is kidnapped and killed, and the body dumped in a place where it’s easily found. The autopsy reveals a drug overdose, which dad does not believe for a second.The plot has an obsessed dad going after those who killed his son.It becomes the sort of movie that takes delight in showing how easily a snowplow can become weaponized. A revenge-minded Neeson is terrific in hunting down the well-protected chief villain drug dealer Viking(Tom Bateman). In the beautiful snowy surroundings there are numerous battles with the crime boss’s thugs, a few fun kind of dark comedy scenes and the hero being sympathetic to the unfortunates. Nels’ clamor for vengeance in the serene Rocky Mountain reaches a high body count, as he uses his fists, his weapons and chicken wire to do his cold business.Terrific support comes from Emmy Rossum as a rookie police officer and John Doman as her droll seen-it-all partner. The Indian rival drug dealer Tom Jackson adds a menacing presence, as a drug war between rivals breaks out. While Laura Dern as our hero’s grieving wife is underused, Julia Jones as the villain’s feisty wife is a pleasant diversion. And, Nicholas Holmes as the villain’s sensitive and abused son gives a solid performance. Shortly before the film opened the 66-year-old Liam gave a puzzling interview to the UK’s Guardian about an incident 40 years ago when a female friend was raped by a black man and he sought revenge, hating on black men to a point of wanting to just kill one. This is something Liam soon got over, and thinks he’s a better person now for it. It caused a bit of a stir for the promotion of the movie, as the studio cancelled the opening day red carpet ceremony.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/