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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

In Order of Disappearance

Cold Pursuit (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

snowball fightKehoe, Colorado, Citizen of the Year Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) had “picked a good road and stayed on it” running a snow­plow service for the community. He cannot believe his OD'd son Kyle (Micheál Richard­son) was a heroin addict. After he learns the killer's identity, bodies start to mount up the ladder of the drug hierarchy until he's forced to kidnap the son Ryan (Nicholas Holmes) of its head honcho Trevor ‘Viking’ Calcote (Tom Bateman) in order to reach him. But by this time Viking has surmised it was the work of a subsidiary Ute Indian gang wasting his members, which leads to a convergence of interested parties at a mountain redoubt for a massive snow fight. The Kehoe Police are about two steps behind.


There is an obscure Bible verse illustrated in this movie, from the little read book of Ecclesiastes, which verse the commentators have trouble under­standing. Evidently, not all of Solomon's wisdom is easily grasped; some of it requires effort (Prov. 1:6) “to under­stand a proverb, and the inter­pre­tation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”

(Eccl. 4:13-14) “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.” The “poor and a wise child” is Ryan who has to deal with: a bully in his St. Philip Elementary School who steals his gym bag, his father's goons who trans­port him and try to set a manly example though a couple of them are a little light in the sneakers, a godawful special diet and other regimens his father imposes, alter­nate weeks spent with mom or dad, and two groups of kidnappers. Through all of this he shows him­self wise beyond his years.

His father Viking who has filled his own father's boots as head of a drug gang out of Denver has out­rageous ideas about raising a child. He formulates a special diet of all vegetables to be eaten for all three daily meals with­out variation in a month. He jumps the gun at retaliation before he knows who was hitting his men, and when he finds out, he is no good at appeasing the wronged gang. For all that there is nobody who can correct him. The police can't touch him. He's protected from vigilante justice by his hired muscle. The hit man can be bought off. His lawyers can fight his ex-wife's lawyers. He's sitting pretty, but Nels says he doesn't deserve a kid like Ryan. That's like Solomon saying, “better is a poor and a wise child—”

Let's see how the second verse fits into the movie. There is nobody who “cometh out of prison to reign,” but a hit man ‘the Eskimo’ (Arnold Pinnock) does leave his hood in California to come up to cold Colorado—that's why they call him the Eskimo—to do a job. One of his characteristics shared with some­one who has just got out of prison is his abhorrent speech. They speak crudely in prison and in the hood. For example the Eskimo says ‘aks’ instead of ‘ask’, and there are other anomalies in his speech for which he gets corrected. This is in a community where Nels's wife Grace (Laura Dern) tries to get Nels to emulate the Gettys­burg Address in his dinner conver­sation and at the award acceptance ceremony. And the even more elegant King James Version (KJV) of the Bible is quoted for Kyle's eulogy, in sayings like, (Psalm 23:5) “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” The picture we get is the young 1611 language of the KJV insulted by the older language of our modern English Bibles, with their influx of foreign words over the years, and common­place usages, much in the same way our modern standard speech would be insulted by prison speech. Ryan's minder unable to answer his question about bullies advises him to read Lord of the Flies that supposedly has the answers to all of life's questions. That honor, how­ever, is reserved to the Bible, not to some dirty book. As George P. Marsh put it in an 1859 graduate lecture on the English Bible, (448–9):

the English Bible sustains, and always has sustained to the general English tongue, the position of a treatise upon a special know­ledge requiring, like any branch of science, a special nomen­clature and phrase­ology. The language of the law, for example, in both vocabu­lary and structure, differs widely from that of unpro­fes­sional life; the language of medicine, of meta­physics, of astronomy, of chemistry, of mechanical art, all these have their approp­riate idioms, very diverse from the speech which is the common heri­tage of all. Why, then, should theology, the highest of know­ledges, alone be required to file her tongue to the vulgar utterance, when every other human interest has its own approp­riate expression, which no man thinks of conforming to a standard that, because it is too common, can hardly be other than unclean?

“He that is born in his kingdom becometh poor” has no example in “Cold Pursuit” of someone falling into economic poverty, but there are examples of paucity of parlance. Nels's wife Grace laments the poverty of conversation in the home. Nels's older brother Brock (William Forsythe)'s dragon of a wife won't speak much to Brock out of naked hostility. Viking's ex speaks to him through lawyers. A local female cop (Emily Rossum) manipulates her cop boy­friend in Denver over the tele­phone until she gets the intel she wants, then the connection suffers an avalanche termination. There's a quiet moll in one of the gangs. One gets the solid impression that words spoken diminish over time in a relation­ship. Like­wise in our language words that were in solid use—say, in the days of the KJV's trans­lation—have declined in usage, but this is par for the course, not some fault of the words them­selves. Scholar Joshua What­mough writes that, “Within the territory of a language, wide deviations of dialect may be found … Such deviations disturb communications, they do not completely disrupt it. And they are, in all known languages, past and present, a constant feature, like archaisms (e.g. in religious or legal terminology) …” (51, 28).

One word considered “interesting” in this movie is the surname Coxman. It derives from a word meaning a man who tends his cock. I'm assuming that's on the order of a fighting cock or the cock whose crowing in the Gospel was Peter's wake up call. Modern Bible versions have taken to employing rooster, a foreign-sourced word. The movie illustrates another kind of cock in a motel room.

A word that shows up in one scene at a resort is reservation. It's what one needs to get into the resort, but in the context of Indians trying to get a room with­out one, it can have other connotations. In the case of archaic words or archaic usages, they are found most often in special contexts—say, the Bible for example.

On our infrequent snow days here in Oregon, I tend to practice (biblical) temperance, that is, moderation, forgoing unnecessary trips as I don't have a car and must rely on travel by foot or by (some­times unreliable) bus. People who have a car can employ its heating function for a self-controlled environment. The modern Bibles, in fact, substitute the word self-control for temperance. In our movie a woman being transported some­where by a gang in a nice warm vehicle makes a sudden dash out­side to be fired upon as she weaves and evades through the snow. Must have had second thoughts about that particular ride though it was nice and warm inside. The writer used his creativity to illustrate the wisdom of temperance in accepting rides over a self-controlled environment.

Nels's award speech extolled the virtue of having “picked a good road and stayed on it.” If the Lord has shepherded the good trans­lation of the KJV Bible—(Psalm 23:1) “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”—why retrans­late it? Even Viking criticized the Eskimo's character for not abiding by his original agreement but negotiating a new one with his mark. In a post­graduate lecture “The English Bible” given by George P. Marsh in 1859 when all they had of English translations was the Authorized King James Version (KJV), the professor recommended no other English trans­lation be made. The KJV is the English Bible, all the others having come along later contrary to academic advice.

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by Hans Petter Moland. Its screen­play was written by Frank Baldwin, replicating the Norwegian film “Kraftidioten” (2014) written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. It stars Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, and Tom Bateman. The acting was up to snuff, but there wasn't a lot of dialogue. It was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

MPAA rated it R for strong violence, drug material, and some language including sexual references. The bodies were tallied as it went along. Philip Øgaard's cinema­tog­raphy rendered the snow scenes simultaneously beautiful and menacing.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This picture was worthy of Liam Neeson playing a man with a vendetta. The film plows right along with­out wasting words. It was well acted and well formulated in a harsh land. The kid in it was cute, the gangsters overly complacent, and the aggrieved father relentless. The Indians were respectable.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Marsh, George P. “Formation of our English sacred dialect.”
       Lectures on the English Language. London: John Murray, 1863. Print.
       ——available to read or download at www.bibles.n7nz.org.

Whatmough, Joshua. Language A Modern Synthesis. New York: Mentor Books, 1957. Print.