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Cold Pursuit (2019) - Plot Summary Poster

(2019)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A grieving snowplow driver seeks out revenge against the drug dealers who killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film 'In Order of Disappearance'.

  • Quiet family man and hard-working snowplow driver Nels is the lifeblood of a glitzy resort town in the Rocky Mountains because he is the one who keeps the winter roads clear. He and his wife live in a comfortable cabin away from the tourists. The town has just awarded him "Citizen of the Year." But Nels has to leave his quiet mountain life when his son is murdered by a powerful drug lord. As a man who has nothing to lose he is stoked by a drive for vengeance. This unlikely hero uses his hunting skills and transforms from an ordinary man into a skilled killer as he sets out to dismantle the cartel. Nels' actions ignite a turf war between a manically unpredictable gangster known as Viking and a rival gang boss. Justice is served in one final spectacular confrontation that will leave (almost) no one unscathed.

  • Nels has just been honoured as citizen of the year for his hard work, keeping the roads snow free at an exclusive Snow resort near Denver Colorado. When his son is murdered on the orders of a vicious Drug Lord nicknamed Viking, Nels takes vengeance on each of the men involved, moving up the chain of command with each killing. Viking makes the mistake of thinking the killings are the work of a rival, Native American drug cartel and begins a war which ends in a finale of last man standing proportions. Extreme violence with more than a hint of dark comedy which doffs its hat to the Cohen Brothers in atmospheric style.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the town of Kehoe, Nelson "Nels" Coxman (Liam Neeson) is returning home from his job as a snowplow driver with his son Kyle (Micheal Richardson). Nels has dinner with his wife Grace (Laura Dern) and discusses his upcoming ceremony. The following day, Nels is awarded Citizen of the Year.

    Kyle is kidnapped at work by criminal enforcers Speedo (Michael Eklund) and Limbo (Bradley Stryker), and is thrown into a van where another victim, Dante (Wesley MacInnes), is also being held. The crooks inject a large dose of heroin into Kyle's body before Dante manages to free himself and run out of the van. Speedo shoots after him but Dante has gotten away. Speedo and Limbo later bring Kyle's body to a public setting and make it look like he just passed out before he is found sometime later.

    We meet drug lord Trevor Calcote, AKA "Viking" (Tom Bateman) as he observes that his son Ryan (Nicholas Holmes) has a black eye. Viking instructs his son to hit his bully back, but Ryan thinks he would be just as dumb as the bully. Viking is then informed by his men that Dante has escaped them.

    Nels and Grace are informed of Kyle's death. Nels argues that Kyle was not a junkie. Grace becomes distressed by the ordeal and she leaves Nels for the time being. Nels goes to his storage shed and grabs a rifle. He puts the barrel in his mouth, but before he pulls the trigger, he finds Dante in there, bloodied and hiding. Nels beats information out of Dante and learns that he and Kyle got involved with Viking's men and they lost a bunch of cocaine, which led to their captures and Kyle's murder. Dante gives up the names of the men involved.

    Nels encounters Speedo at a nightclub and follows him into the elevator. When Nels demands to know what happened with Kyle and who ordered his murder, Speedo ignores Nels and threatens him with his gun. Nels attacks Speedo when he's not looking and beats his face to a pulp before dragging him to the back of a van. Speedo says he was taking orders from Limbo. Nels finds a picture of Limbo on his phone and proceeds to strangle Speedo until he stops moving. He then wraps his body in chicken wire and throws him down a gorge. When Nels returns home, Grace is there, but she won't talk to him.

    Viking escorts Ryan to school and finds that one of his men packed cookies in his lunch, which Viking is strongly against as he wants to regulate his son's diet. He is then told that Speedo is missing.

    Patroling the town is Detective Kim Dash (Emmy Rossum) and her partner Gip (John Doman). They catch some teens smoking a joint, and Kim wants to arrest them, but Gip tells her to ease up since it's not that serious.

    Nels goes to find Limbo at a wedding dress shop where he works. Limbo knows why Nels is there and he tries to shoot him, but Nels dodges the shot and fights Limbo until he knocks him down. Limbo confesses that he was instructed to kill Kyle and Dante by an enforcer known as Santa. Nels shoots Limbo dead and takes his body to the gorge as well.

    Viking meets with his ex-wife Aya (Julia Jones) as they make arrangements for their sharing custody of Ryan. Viking shows her a list of the diet he wants to give Ryan, which Aya thinks is insane. After they meet, Viking is informed that Limbo is missing, making him increasingly angry.

    Nels spots Santa (Michael Adamthwaite) driving by a snow-covered road. Using his snowplow, Nels blocks Santa's path and goes to beat him and try to get more info out of him, but Santa says through the beatings that Nels is wasting his time. The two of them have a laugh as Nels admits to being tired of hitting Santa, right before he shoots Santa in the head. He joins Speedo and Limbo at the bottom of the gorge as well, and Nels plows his car off the road. Nels goes home and sees that Grace has left him.

    Nels pays a visit to his brother Byron (William Forsythe), who was once part of the criminal world and was known as "Wingman". His wife Ahn (Elizabeth Thai) immediately dislikes Nels, thinking he is part of the same crew Byron used to hang with. Byron makes a call and learns about the business that Kyle and Dante were involved in, and he tells Nels about Viking and how dangerous he is.

    Viking suspects the disappearances of his men are the work of an American Indian drug gang of which their leader, White Bull (Tom Jackson), had made a compromise with Viking's own father when they took over the area on the reservation. Viking orders two of his men to apprehend White Bull's son Little Hawk after he returns from the airport. After beating Little Hawk senseless, he never tells them anything, and Viking executes him. He has Little Hawk's body hung up by a sign near the reservation for his father to find, along with the shark tooth that White Bull gave Viking's father as a peace offering. White Bull now wants revenge against Viking, specifically "a son for a son".

    Byron suggests to Nels that he hire a hitman called The Eskimo (Arnold Pinnock) to kill Viking. Nels follows Byron's instructions on how to do business with The Eskimo, being that he must pick him up from a train station, take him to a motel, and pay half the money upfront. When Nels does all of that, The Eskimo suspects Nels of being a cop since cops do that "half upfront" deal instead of two-thirds upfront. The Eskimo later goes to Viking's place and explicitly tells him that a man by the name of Coxman hired him to kill Viking, and he wants to make a bigger payday by working with Viking. The crooks believe Coxman is Byron, as they remember him as Wingman. Viking refuses to do work with The Eskimo as he did not honor his code by carrying out the job, so he has his men kill The Eskimo.

    Viking and two of his men drive to Byron's home and pick him up. They still think he was the one who sent The Eskimo after him. Byron knows what is going to happen, but since he is already suffering from cancer, he could not care less that he is about to be murdered. Viking respects Byron's spirit before he is executed. Nels and Ahn later visit Byron's grave, but Ahn spits on it and walks away with her luggage.

    Meanwhile, Kim has been doing her own investigation into the case after gathering info from around town, as well as an ex-boyfriend of hers. She learns that Dante has also died from an overdose, as well as the names of people involved in both Viking's and White Bull's operations.

    Viking attempts to pin the blame of Little Hawk's murder on one of his goons, Dexter (Benjamin Hollingsworth). Viking shoots Dexter in the head and orders his men to decapitate him and bring the head to White Bull as an offering. He sends his man Sly (David O'Hara) to deliver the head and say that Dexter was the one who killed Little Hawk. White Bull is thankful for the offering, but he still demands a son for a son, and he kills Sly as well.

    White Bull orders his men to kidnap Ryan in retaliation for Little Hawk's murder. They attempt to get him during the week that Aya has custody of him. However, Nels catches wind of this and poses as someone working for Ryan's parents and he picks him up from school. Nels manages to lose White Bull's men from his trail before taking Ryan to his home. The boy is not scared as Nels is friendly to him, and Ryan is already a good-natured kid. Nels puts Ryan to bed, but he asks Nels to tell him a story before he goes to sleep. He bonds with the boy better than his own father does.

    Aya confronts Viking after she believed that he kidnapped Ryan to assert authority. Viking thinks the Indians took Ryan and just didn't call, which he says is what they must do in the event of a kidnapping. His men later bring in a janitor from Ryan's school, who says he saw Nels taking Ryan, and he mentions the name Coxman. Viking makes it look like the men will give the janitor the money he was promised, but he just has his men kill him.

    Nels lures Viking and his men toward his job. He hides Ryan as he attempts to kill Viking, but a bodyguard blocks Nels's shot. One of Viking's men finds Nels and brings him out at gunpoint. As Viking demands to know where Ryan is, the Indians arrive and engage in a shootout with Viking's men. Most men on both sides are killed, but Viking attempts to escape in his car. Nels operates a machine to cut a tree and drive it through Viking's car. This leaves Viking trapped, and White Bull shoots Viking in the chest. Nels starts to leave, but White Bull forces him to let him join him.

    Later that night, Kim and Gip come across the scene. Viking is still alive until Gip finds him, and he finally dies. Ryan then gets out and drives the snowplow away from the scene, and the officers must follow him.

    In the final scene, Nels and White Bull ride along the snowy roads as Nels just continues to do his job. As they ride together, White Bull's last surviving man, Avalanche (Mitchell Saddleback), is paragliding and accidentally flies into the path of the snowplow, causing him to get shredded.

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