Review: The Frozen Ground (15)

Lacking the finesse of Zodiac or The Silence of the Lambs, The Frozen Ground emerges as a somewhat stolid, police procedural that also wastes the combined talents of John Cusack and Nicolas Cage.

John Cusack as Robert C Hansen
John Cusack as Robert C Hansen

Based on the real-life hunt for an Alaskan serial killer 
who murdered more than a dozen women in 
the 1970s and 80s it manages 
very few chills and a lamentably low number of thrills.

Cage is the cop tasked with re-opening a cold case. Cusack is the husband and father who uses his spare time to kidnap women and chain them in his den before flying out in his private plane to the icy wastes where they are dispatched.

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Director Scott Walker plays his hand early on, identifying the bad guy.

His trump card is Cusack, not necessarily the first choice as a dead-eyed stalker and killer. He has little to say during the first half of the film as Cage’s investigation gets closer.

But a series of interviews with the police – played almost as a two-hander – allows the Cage/Cusack energy to flood forth.

Cusack also scores as 
the remorseless predator 
who views women as commodities and who kills with a smirk. Yet the movie lacks zip and the pace is never more than pedestrian – a situation not helped by Cage’s mechanical playing of 
his dogged detective.

One has to wonder what could have been had the roles been reversed.