Cold Pursuit

Musical Score By: George Fenton

Distributed by: Varѐse Sarabande

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


               In the black comedy action film, Cold Pursuit, Liam Neeson is Nelson Coxman, a snowplow driver at a Colorado ski resort.  When Nelsí son (Michael Richardson) dies from a forced heroine overdose, his world falls apart.  His wife (Laura Dern) has a psychotic breakdown and leaves him and Nels is seriously contemplating suicide when he learns that his son was murdered by a drug cartel.  Finding a new purpose in life, Nels becomes the ultimate vigilante, determined to hint down the psychotic drug lord known as Viking (Tom Bateman) and all of his henchmen.

               The musical score of Cold Pursuit was created by English composer George Fenton.  Born to musically inclined parents and with a grandfather on his fatherís side who was a conductor, it seemed George Fenton was bound to find enjoyment in music.  Though he sang in choirs early on in life, it was an electric guitar that won his heart at the age of seven and propelled him into the world of music.  Though he dabbled in acting in his early adult years, he began working as a session musician as well and eventually became interested in writing music for theatre.  By the 1970s, Fenton had expanded his musical scoring to include television and film.  Some of his credits include Cry Freedom, Shadowlands, In Love and War, The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Dangerous Liaisons, The Company of Wolves, The Crucible, Memphis Bell, Groundhog Day, Youíve Got Mail, The Lady in the Van and more.

               If you just listened to this score without really knowing what the film was about, youíd be a tad confused.  There appears to be a major disconnect between the themes, but once you find out what the film is about, you begin to understand why the score features such vastly different themes.  One theme is a somewhat happy-go-lucky ethnic string piece that begins in the track Snow Plough.  Thereís a happiness to the piece that reflects Nelsí life before his sonís murder.  The happy theme is interrupted by a harsh, electric slashing sound in News of Kyle (the death of Nelsí son).  The score becomes more electronic sound- infused and dark as Nels begins his pursuit of the people he holds responsible for his sonís death, but every once in a while, that happy theme returns.  Perhaps this has something to do with Nelsí complete turn around from Citizen of the Year to cold-blooded vigilante.  One must also remember that this is a black comedy and that there are bound to be some comedic moments in all the darkness that this happy theme can be accredited to.

               It has been some time since I have listened to a score that contained such different sounding themes at war with one another.  The Cold Pursuit Soundtrack presents quite the interesting listen and I have no doubt that the music adds to the film by enhancing the dark scenes and adding a comedic note to the lighter ones.  George Fenton definitely achieved what was needed for this movie score.


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