Cast: Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Laura Dern, Nicholas Holmes, Tom Jackson,
Michael Richardson, Emmy Rossum, John Doman, Wesley MacInnes
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Rating: * * *
The stunningly photographed snow-clad Colorado mountainscape of Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s English language adaptation of his 2014 film In Order of Disappearance mirrors the winter in bereaved father. Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) heart as he sets out to exact revenge on the drugs cartel that killed his guiltless son, Kyle (Michael Richardson).
Kyle is found dead from a heroin overdose but Coxman is as convinced of his son’s innocence as we are though his wife Grace (Laura Dern) snaps, “We didn’t know our son!” And so, he kills a threesome from a growing hit-list while the plot expands into a gang war and the film assumes the tonality of black comedy while citing the roster of the deceased. Their very names are designed for chuckles. One of Kyle’s colleagues answers to the name of Dante (Wesley MacInnes) who wrote about Hell, the ultimate underworld.
We note that crime does not pay, even as we feel pity for the gangster whose head is despatched on a platter, John the Baptist style, to mollify White Bull (Tom Jackson) the Native American chieftain who wants blood for the killing of his son. His target is small Ryan (Nicholas Holmes) whose sadistic monster dad (Tom Bateman) nicknamed Viking tries to ‘connect’ with the boy through bizarre diets and books. “Did you read that copy of ‘Lord of the Flies’ I gave you?” he asks his son.
“Everything you need to know about life is in ‘Lord of the Flies’.”
“You don’t deserve your son” Coxman tells Viking. Spot on. The boy can tell Bach from Mozart in a heartbeat and even drives off, at the film’s conclusion, at the helm of Coxman’s snow-plower. That, and the sight of a glider conveniently crashing into the vehicle, could well be a hint to viewers to desist from taking the film too seriously.