The Frozen Ground - Blu-ray Review

'The Frozen Ground enters NYPD Blue territory, circa 1995, from almost its first words'

With True Detective playing on televisions the world over, you do have to wonder how films like The Frozen Ground continue to get made. Perhaps the fact that the Cop Thriller has felt like something of a marginalised genre recently speaks to the fact that, actually, someone has noticed that this sort of thing just doesn't really have a place in the world any more, though no-one told writer/director Scott Walker.

Previously stars like Nicholas Cage and John Cusack would have been enough for The Frozen Ground to find an audience, a fan base even, but when the alternatives are now Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, available on demand whenever you want them, it becomes hard to justify even a VOD fee for a second-rate Thriller with little-to-no advancement from what this genre looked like in the mid-1990s. It is very early doors when a character tells Vanessa Hudgens's abused prostitute Cindy that, 'Miss, we're going to need you to come down to the station' and thus The Frozen Ground enters NYPD Blue territory, circa 1995, from almost its first words.

As the plot unfolds and you tick off the usual clich├ęs (Cage's cop is struggling to balance work and his private life you say? Check) it becomes very apparent very quickly that The Frozen Ground has little even to add to its 1990's niche. Cage and Cusack feel miscast, the latter no match for the former, thus making the central conflict a bit of a null point. Cindy is described as 'helping' Jack (Cage) in the film's blurb, which suggests something interesting, but when it comes down to it she potters about rather aimlessly, offering fairly little until someone shows up to tries and kidnap her. That point in the film, which heralds the bizarre arrival of 50 Cent as a beleaguered pimp, is a gigantic misstep into sub-gangster rubbish with only a tangential relationship to the main story.

If there's one success point here it's arguably in Walker's handling of depicting misogyny without being misogynist, though even this is hardly pulled off without flaws. His film does have real sympathy for the victims of Cusack's murderous abuse, and gives them and their families plenty of time to tell as full a story as possible, but it is notable that the positions of power within the film reside solely with the male characters. Does the Alaskan police force, including the vice unit, have no female officers? You do begin to wonder. The most significant female character aside from Cindy is Allie (Radha Mitchell), who appears to be a housewife. It manages to be not overtly offensive, but it is uncertain and lazy.

Meanwhile, with Walker negotiating his opinions on gender, the plot is left to gently rumble along, finding a conclusion matched only in its predictability by the audiences level of disinterest. It's not aggressively bad, but it is entirely pointless.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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