Liam Neeson made a goose of himself by saying that, before he was famous and still living in Belfast, he ‘went looking for a black guy to beat up’ after the rape of a relative. Frankly, I didn’t believe the story for a minute, instead seeing it as an ill-advised contrivance intended to attract publicity for his latest revenge flick. It was dumb and unnecessary, for the movie is a ripper, with a deep vein of dark humour constantly bringing to mind the Coens’ classic Fargo. And, as Norwegian director Hans Peter Moland has virtually re-made his Kraftidioten (2014) for a broader market, its Scandi-noir flavour, with snow all around, is also prominent. Citizen of the Year in Colorado’s freezing Kehole, upstanding Nels Coxman (Neeson) is devastated to learn that his only son has died from a heroin overdose. Convinced that the boy was not a junkie, Nels sets about unearthing the truth and, with little ado, exacting ruthless retribution on those responsible – it’s a theme that is now bread and butter for the craggy Irish actor. The killings start early, but Moland manages a tongue in cheek savagery that is almost comical, particularly when ‘Viking’ (Tom Bateman) goes into villainous overdrive. In the background there is a local cop on the case (Emmy Rossum, à la Frances McDormand in Fargo)and, as a novel twist in the genre, a crew of native Americans who are also involved in drug-running – in an ethereal moment, their chief (Tom Jackson), watching skiers swish down a mountainside, is re-connected with his spiritual forebears. The violence is at times extreme, particularly when Nels is bashing a bad guy’s head to pulp, and the last scene shoot-out is so predictable, but the plot is watertight and the primitive morality agreeably wrong-minded. This is a film that a lot of people will dismiss because of its subject matter, but if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone you’ll be surprised how good it is – and Neeson nails it.
Support The Echo
Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.
Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.