12 March 2015

THE FROZEN GROUND

THE FROZEN GROUND

German Title:
Frozen Ground

USA, 2013
Director: Scott Walker

9/10








Just when you thought the acting careers of Nicolas Cage and John Cusack went down the drain, this little gem comes along and proves you totally wrong, because acting-wise, they're both more alive and kicking than ever, at least here in the debut feature by New Zealand based filmmaker Scott Walker (not to be confused with the other Scott Walker a.k.a one of the greatest singers of all time), a dark and unsettling motherfucker of a thriller, based on the case of real-life serial killer Robert Hansen who kidnapped, raped and murdered more than 30 women in the Alaskan wilderness between 1971 and 1983.


"The Frozen Ground" focusses on state trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) who investigates the case and teams up with a young prostitute (Vanessa Hudgens) who escaped the hands of the cold-blooded killer (John Cusack). Seriously, I haven't seen a Cage-performance like that in a very long time. He's absolutely mesmerising here, delivering some of the strongest acting ever. Forget about crap like "Season of the Witch" or the dreadful "Ghost Rider" flicks. THIS is the Cage we all fell in love with, long before he started to accept every single fucking role he got offered.

Equally impressive: John Cusack who's simply brilliant as deeply disturbed family father slash serial killer and - even more surprising - Vanessa "High School Musical" Hudgens as extremely believable and immensely troubled woman. There's also some more neat acting by 50 Cent as... erm, as pimp (what else?), Jodi Lynn O'Keefe as helpful prostitute, and Dean Norris as cool police sergeant.


Aside from all the great acting, there's huge amounts of gripping, nail-biting suspense, plenty of visually stunning images of incredible-looking snowy Alaskan landscapes, or the grimy, seedy underworld of Anchorage, lots of striking and very memorable scenes, such as the one with the moose, the intense semi-showdown in the middle of fucking nowhere, [MILD SPOILER] or the moment where a frighteningly wild Cusack shouts "You little cunt!", as well as many unsettling and disturbing moments. Walker's direction is flawless and his script is just wow. Whenever I thought "Ah, I know where this is going to.", the movie took a completely unexpected turn that I totally wouldn't have predicted. Especially the ending was a huge surprise. I expected a clich├ęd loud Hollywood-like finale, but it actually ends with a calm, yet unbelievably tense and nerve-wracking finale with Nic Cage in top form.


Furthermore, the fact that this is an early 80s period piece is also very worth mentioning. The whole thing really feels as if cast & crew actually traveled back in time to shoot this + the violin-laden score by Lorne Balfe ("Assassin's Creed III") and Paul Bakija ("The Tripper") is too good to be true. In its greatest moments, it reminded me of Morricone's "The Thing" score, at least in terms of atmosphere. Hell, I can't praise this movie enough. "The Frozen Ground" is the absolute best 90s serial-killer-thriller not shot in the 90s. Strongly recommended!

8 comments:

  1. I am so happy you enjoyed this true story. Cusack was brilliant! They wanted Nick Cage to play the bad guy, but he fought to have John Cusack for the role! Thank you for bringing attention to well written/ made films!
    Nicely designed blog!

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    1. Really? I had no idea! Would have been interesting to see Cage as the killer, though I think it's better to have him here as the good guy.

      Thank you, Debi! I try my best to make my ramblings look a tad more cooler with all the funky banners and shit :D

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  2. I agree! I wasn't expecting something nearly as good as this when I started the movie because Cage was in it, but wow! A really great story and both Cage and Cusack back it up with great performances. Was really impressed with Cusack actually. It was so weird seeing him in a role like this, and even more weird and creepy because he was so good at playing a rapist/murderer.

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    1. Same here. I heard some surprisingly good stuff about it, that made me really curious about it - and glad I did! Cusack was fantastic as baddie, lightyears better than his horrid baddie performance in "Grand Piano" - and Cage simply blew me away!

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  3. Loved John Cusack in Serendipity but he portrayed Hansen's life and killing spree well here. Found it very disturbing, intense and realistic.

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    1. Indeed, he portrayed Hansen in a highly realistic and quite impressive way.

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  4. I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds awesome! Thanks for the review. :)

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    1. It's really, really awesome. You need to see it!

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