Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Frozen Ground (2013)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no plot twists, big reveals or character deaths**

In 1983, Sergeant Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) leads an investigation in Anchorage, Alaska to catch a merciless serial killer. The killer targets young women and prostitutes by luring them to his home. Here, the killer beats, tortures, and rapes his victims. To fulfill his sadistic blood lust, the killer forces his broken victims into the wilderness for a hunting game with no realistic chances of escape.

Halcombe pursues the killer with help of Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens), a seventeen year old runaway turned prostitute, who escaped the clutches of the killer after a struggle. Robert (or “Bob”) Hansen (John Cusack) is the prime suspect, but Hansen is a father of two, the owner/manager of a popular bakery, and he’s a respected member of the community, so Halcombe’s going to have a tough time trying to convince his peers of Hansen living a double-life as a cold-blooded killer.

Halcombe races against the clock to stop Hansen’s murderous rampage, and Halcmobe is tormented by the possibility of breaking a promise to his wife, Allie (Radha Mitchell). Meanwhile, without help or a reliable support system, Cindy is stuck in a trap with her pimp, Clate (50 Cent). Will Halcombe catch Hansen before it’s too late?

Nicolas Cage leads the way for this cast with a solid and convincing performance in the leading role. Hudgens deserves a lot of credit for a strong effort as Cindy. Embracing Cindy’s trashy look and persona helped, and Hudgens was able to show some believable welded tears. 50 Cent? Yeah, I can’t say too much about him. His character is the stereotypical street pimp, and that’s about it. And Mitchell doesn’t receive a significant amount of screen time, just a few sporadic appearances here and there, that’s it. Cusack is menacing, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He showcased his versatility with the portrayal of a seemingly innocnet father and husband, and Cusack smoothly switches gears to the callous murderer in the blink of an eye.

I didn’t have a big problem with The Frozen Ground, but I can’t ignore the truth: The Frozen Ground is another generic and formulaic murder mystery/drama film based on true events. You can see every twist and turn coming from a mile away, and they slowly go through the motions step by step until the credits start rolling. At times, The Frozen Ground is a laborious chore to sit through, and the one hour and forty five minutes runtime feels like a LONG three hours, because I can’t count the number of times I checked the clock with an exasperated “Is it over yet?” look.

Still, I won’t go with a negative score. The Frozen Ground is harmless, and more importantly, without a strong and admirable effort from Hudgens, and two solid performances from the veterans (Cage and Cusack), The Frozen Ground could’ve been a lot worse.

Rating: 5/10

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