Monday, November 4, 2013

Film Review: The Frozen Ground (2013)

The Frozen Ground (Review)
United States/2013
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an immensely interesting investigation, a suspenseful hunt for justice, and two great leading men."

17-year-old Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) manages to escape from a deranged killer only to find her story questioned by the criminal justice system due to her career as a prostitute and the suspect's reputation. The case lands on Sgt. Jack Halcombe's (Nicolas Cage) lap, and he begins his hunt for the suspected serial killer Robert Hansen (John Cusack).

The Frozen Ground is a by-the-books investigative crime drama. We follow Halcombe as he investigates Hansen and attempts to stop is vicious murder spree. Hansen, however, is well respected in his community, and the police have let him off time and time before. With the help of the reluctant and troubled Cindy Paulson, Halcombe just might have a chance. The investigation keeps you hooked, and thr authenticity of the story keeps you interested long after the film ends. On that note, the film's ending comes together very well with a very tense final confrontation.

The Frozen Ground plays it safe, but not to a fault. In fact, playing it safe adds to the authenticity and believability in this case. Fans of crime dramas will have plenty to sink their fans into, and those who love true-to-life serial killer films will enjoy the authentic-vibe; however, The Frozen Ground does tread familiar ground. The investigation is interesting, including the race-against-the-clock search warrants and the dreadfully tense interrogations. There are a few action sequences, but they aren't far reaching; fortunately, they add more suspense to an already suspenseful story. The storytelling has some continuity issues as well as some unnecessarily confusing editing.

I really enjoyed Nicolas Cage's performance, although it is a safe one -- don't expect the eccentric energy he usually has, this is something different, but good. Vanessa Hudgens also delivers a solid performance. Ultimately, John Cusack steals the show with his fantastic performance, really playing his diverse character well; one moment he's the innocent family man, the next he's a vicious serial killer. The soundtrack is somber yet thrilling and suspenseful, a perfect fit for the film's theme. The writing is safe and tries to be as authentic as possible, no superhero cops or Jason Voorhees-like serial killers or so on. Aside from the writing, Scott Walker does well as the director as well.

Overall, The Frozen Ground is a true-to-life serial killer drama with an immensely interesting investigation, a suspenseful hunt for justice, and two great leading men. There are some technical flaws regarding the storytelling, and even a few minor flaws with the actual story, but it's really a great and entertaining experience.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, and nudity. (No, Vanessa Hudgens only dances but not in the nude.)

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