Thursday, 25 July 2013

REVIEW - THE FROZEN GROUND


Am I alone in thinking that an Anchorage-set thriller about a serial murderer of women and the police search for his identity is a good idea for a film? An even better idea for a TV series, right? Well, I'm a sucker for stories like this, which makes such a lame effort as The Frozen Ground all the more inexcusable. Premises like these are inherently exciting. All they need is a little push, and they become thoroughly riveting. And The Frozen Ground's premise already existed - it's based on a true story - so where's the effort? Where's the ambition? As soon as Nicolas Cage signed on to play the lead, they ought to have known to call it a day then and there. That said, I continue to admire Cage for what appears to be nonchalance regarding choosing his roles - an Oscar-winning actor capable of so much better who's doing trash like this because he just wants to. Or maybe he needs a new agent. Radha Mitchell needs a new agent. Where is Radha Mitchell's agent anyway? Since tales like this have been told to death (and since The Frozen Ground so relentlessly reminds us of this), to say that you couldn't make this shit up is incorrect, as you could, and as Scott Walker possibly should have. What you can't make up, though, are these characters, because they're real! Only writer-director Walker makes them seem made up, tired tropes defined by details so overused that you may wonder if Walker is employing them ironically, or deceptively. He's not. 50 Cent shows up with a wig on, and that alone is hilarious, and then he gets his car stolen by Vanessa Hudgens (Bandslam). An even better bit, though, is when Vanessa Hudgens (Bandslam) turns into an alleyway and encounters a moose. Out of context, that sounds like it'd make this film a classic! In context, it slightly does. Lorne Balfe's string-and-brass-led score evokes Howard Shore's for Se7en a little too strongly, but it's still the best thing about this tepid thriller.