Cold Pursuit

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Cold Pursuit Movie Poster Image
Darkly comic thriller is bloody but clever, thoughtful.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie is largely about revenge; no real consequences for violent acts. But unlike a lot of movies with lots of dead bodies, this asks audiences to ponder death -- specifically, how the living react to the dead. What makes a death funny, what makes a death sad? Why do we react in these ways?

Positive Role Models & Representations

Almost all characters are ruthless killers or criminals of some kind. Very few consequences for all the carnage. Only Kim the police officer seems decent and diligent in trying to solve the puzzle.


Extreme violence tinged with darkly comic tone. Hitting, punching, pummeling. Guns and shooting. Many dead bodies. Gallons of blood, including splatters, etc. A character gurgles/chokes on blood. Teeth knocked out. Kidnapping. Suicide attempt with rifle. Sawed-off shotgun. A man swings at his ex-wife; she dodges, grabs him by the crotch.


A secondary character plays at being a pickup artist; he tries to sleep with waitresses and hotel maids (he "seduces" the latter by lying naked in bed and putting money on his genitals). No graphic nudity. Some sex-related dialogue. Play on words relating to main character's name ("Coxman"). Married couple kisses (offscreen).


Very strong language, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, "ass," "bastard," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "crap," "d--kweed," "Jesus Christ." Middle-finger gesture.


Box of Fruity Pebbles shown. Mentions of Facebook and Yelp.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Supporting characters are drug dealers. A character is said to have overdosed. Bags of cocaine shown. Teens smoke pot. Other scenes of pot smoking, plus background cigarette smoking. Main character drinks shots of alcohol. Drinks in nightclub. Beers in a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cold Pursuit is a thriller/dark comedy starring Liam Neeson as a man seeking revenge for his son's death. It's very violent, with punching and hitting, guns and shooting, and lots and lots of blood. Much of the violence is tinged with a comic tone. There's some sex-related dialogue, and a secondary character tries to seduce waitresses and hotel maids, sometimes by lying in bed naked with money covering his genitals. A married couple kisses, offscreen, for a long time. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," the "N" word, and more. Secondary characters are drug dealers, and cocaine, pot smoking, and cigarettes are shown. Characters also drink in bars/socially. A remake of a 2014 Norwegian movie, this one is quite a bit smarter, and stranger, than the usual Neeson revenge movie. It also plays around with audience reactions to death, which makes it most appropriate for older teens and up.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBelovedODave78 February 18, 2019

Clever and brutal Neeson flick that deals with revenge as usual, but takes it a step further by implementing humorous elements. Mature audiences only!

This film is based on the Norwegian film released years earlier by the same director. It deals with two parents who lose their son from a heroin overdose by dru... Continue reading
Adult Written byNatalie700 March 25, 2019

So many problems...

I like Liam Neeson's acting but I have so many problems with this movie.

1. They squeezed in as many minorities as possible, only to degrade or kill them... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byItsmovietimeee July 12, 2019


This is such an awesome movie which is very underrated.
It has a great story line and excellent acting.
It is very violent, it has quite a few references to dru... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 13, 2019

What's the story?

In COLD PURSUIT, Nelson Coxman (Liam Neeson) makes his living driving a snowplow in the mountain ski resort town of Kehoe; he even receives a "Citizen of the Year" award for his efforts. But then his teen son is found dead, the autopsy indicating a drug overdose. Nelson is certain that his son didn't use drugs, so he sets out to find the truth. After a trail of dead bodies, Nelson finds his target: a slick, dangerous, well-protected drug lord called "Viking" (Tom Bateman). Meanwhile, Viking is trying to discover who's killing all his henchmen; he blames rival drug lord White Bull (Tom Jackson) and inadvertently starts a turf war. Nelson goes to his brother/former partner in crime "Wingman" (William Forsythe) for help and eventually forms a plan to get to Viking. But a fresh-faced police officer (Emmy Rossum) is also on the trail, trying to make sense of the whole mess.

Is it any good?

This bloody, deceptive thriller starts out like yet another one of Neeson's revenge movies, but it subtly switches into a very dark comedy that asks us to consider our various reactions to death. Cold Pursuit was directed by Hans Petter Moland; it's a remake of his own 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance for American audiences. It feels like he's iterating to achieve perfection, tone- and style-wise. For instance, something feels odd when Nelson and his wife (Laura Dern) go to identify their son's body and must wait awkwardly while a morgue worker pumps a foot pedal again and again to raise the corpse to viewing height.

The scene is sad, but it also inspires laughter. Moland allows time for viewers to experience both feelings, and then ask themselves "why did I react like that?" The whip-smart movie balances a large array of characters, and each is treated with respect, with the realization that everyone has his or her own feelings. Viking is a slick, selfish villain who's appalling in many ways but also logical; the scenes in which he attempts to relate to his young son are both ridiculous and touching. The movie's biggest flaw is that it keeps all these balls -- characters, humor, and pathos -- in the air for a long time, and it can get exhausting. But for the majority of its running time, Cold Pursuit is surprising, bracing grown-up entertainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Cold Pursuit's violence. How did you react to the various killings and deaths in the movie? Did you laugh? Were you moved? What caused these reactions?

  • How are drugs and drinking depicted? Are they glamorized? Are there consequences for drug or alcohol use? Why does that matter?

  • What's the appeal of revenge stories? What does revenge achieve?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action thrillers

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