The Frozen Ground starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens opens in theaters today, August 23rd 2013. This new thriller film is about an Alaskan State Trooper who partners with a young woman who escapes the clutches of serial killer, Robert Hansen. His goal is to bring this murderer to justice. The Frozen Ground is based on actual events and directed by Scott Walker. Read the latest movie review below:
“The Frozen Ground: A New Thriller Starring Nicolas Cage and John Cusack
What is the allure of true crime stories beyond the truth of “well, that happened”? It’s the sort of rubbernecking that not only kept “Law And Order” on the air for years, but spawned a cottage industry of shows and movies geared towards illuminating the dark side of crime, dramatizing and attempting to bring structure to the cruel arbitrariness of violent murder, rape and assorted trauma. You wouldn’t think there would be so much entertainment value from seeing a star’s glassy eyes as he stands over a murder scene, attempting to register the horror before him. But that sort of mass media has always generated interest, particularly as it hides artistic deficiencies behind the veil of “true story” labeling in an attempt to render the genre critic-proof. Exhibit A: “The Frozen Ground.”
This overwhelmingly dreary true story follows state trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he pieces together a string of gruesome murders that have left body parts strewn all over the Alaskan wilderness. The harsh terrain isn’t fetishized or rendered nightmarish by digital trickery or the surgical camera of a David Fincher, but instead by first-timer Scott Walker, who admirably tackles the material with a lack of pretension. This is a dire atmosphere, devoid of life, leisure or culture of any kind. When citizens aren’t walking off into the freezing cold as a means of isolation, they’re enjoying communal efforts that seem limited to bars and strip clubs. Not a whole lot of library cards inside those wallets.
Halcombe begins to uncover seeds of circumstantial evidence that allows him to piece together a suspect. That man is Robert Hansen (John Cusack), an unassuming citizen well-regarded by locals for his small-town friendliness (which is to say he looks people in the eyes, and is clearly a man of unintimidating intellect) and his hunting skills (a tremendous red flag). Walker dispenses with the peekaboo of a potential mystery and reveals that Hansen indeed is capturing women, sexually violating them before ending their lives, buried without identity in the frozen ground.
Halcombe’s investigation feels shorn of the embellishments of the genre, instead hamstrung by the lack of physical evidence connecting the crimes to Hansen. This doesn’t stop him from developing a typically-cinematic antagonistic relationship with bosses played by Exasperated Higher-Up Hall Of Famers Kurt Fuller and Kevin Dunn, resulting in the type of open-office arguments that would count as insubordination, standing out among the accurately dull everyday slog of murder investigations.
The trump card is an escaped victim, a local stripper and prostitute named Cindy (Vanessa Hudgens). The film’s devotion to her sordid backstory, which involves drugs and prostitution, feels like a testimony to her breaking the case open, not so much to her character.”
Click here to read the rest of the review at IndieWire.
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