The Liam Neeson Netflix Crime Thriller That’s Topping The Charts

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

liam neeson marlowe

While Liam Neeson may be most known for having a certain set of skills, fans of the action star are propelling a lesser-known Neeson movie to the top of the charts. Directed by Hans Petter Moland and starring Liam Neeson in the lead role, Cold Pursuit is the story of Nels Coxman, a snowplow driver whose life takes a dark turn when his son falls victim to a drug cartel, propelling him into a vengeful journey.

Liam Neeson Seeks Revenge, Again, In Cold Pursuit

liam neeson

In the icy landscapes of Kehoe, Colorado, the 2019 action thriller Cold Pursuit unfolds a tale of revenge, snowplows, and unexpected humor. The film is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian production In Order of Disappearance

Cold Pursuit begins after Nel Coxman receives the Citizen of the Year award in Kehoe, Colorado. His life is shattered when his son dies from a forced heroin overdose, revealing a murder by a Denver drug cartel. Neeson, ever the best actor when it comes to vengeful parents, portrays Coxman as he seeks vigilante justice against the ones who killed his son.

The Cast

The journey to create Cold Pursuit began with the announcement of the involvement of Liam Neeson, director Hans Petter Moland, and producers Michael Shamberg and StudioCanal in January 2017. The following March, the rest of the cast was announced to include Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Emmy Rossum, and Laura Dern. Filming commenced that same month, spanning locations in Alberta, Vancouver, Fernie, Winnipeg, and Gimli. 

Changes Along The Way

While producers wanted to shoot Cold Pursuit in Banff and Jasper national parks, the film was denied due to environmental concerns and the depiction of First Nations gangsters.

Throughout production, the film faced a shift in identity, transitioning from its original title, Hard Powder, to Cold Pursuit. Summit Entertainment acquired U.S. distribution rights in November 2017. The movie premiered on February 8, 2019, in the United States but faced a setback as the red carpet event was canceled following controversial remarks made by Liam Neeson the day before.

Controversy Shrouds The Premiere

Accusations of racism were directed at Liam Neeson following an interview with The Independent during a press junket for Cold Pursuit in February 2019. Neeson detailed a past experience where a close woman confided in him about being raped by a stranger, prompting him to inquire about the attacker’s skin color. Upon learning the assailant was black, Neeson admitted to harboring violent thoughts, expressing a desire to confront and harm a random “black bastard.” 

In a subsequent appearance on Good Morning America, Neeson, while denying being racist, clarified that the incident occurred almost four decades ago. He emphasized that he had sought information about the rapist’s physical attributes beyond race and claimed he would have reacted similarly regardless of the assailant’s ethnicity. Like his character in Cold Pursuit, Neeson admitted to his desire to act as a vigilante, going as far as to venture into specific areas of the city with malicious intent. 

Despite his denial of racist intent, the controversy resulted in the cancellation of the red carpet event for Cold Pursuit’s premiere.

Cold Pursuit Finds New Fans On Netflix

Despite the controversy, Cold Pursuit navigated its way to a global box office though it didn’t fare well, only making $76 million against a $60 million production budget. Critically, the film received a lukewarm 68 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with praise for its action, humor, and unique tone.

Now, Cold Pursuit is on Netflix where it is thrilling viewers with a blend of action and dark humor, creating a cinematic landscape that mirrors the frigid expanses it portrays. While Neeson’s personal revelations add a gray layer to the film, the overall reception highlights its ability to engage audiences with a chilling tale of revenge on the snow-covered plains of Kehoe, Colorado.