Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 14, 2021)
In 2019, Liam Neeson starred in Cold Pursuit, a revenge thriller with a touch of dark comedy. That film remade 2014’s In Order of Disappearance, a flick out of Scandinavia.
In Tyos, Norway, Kehoe exists as a remote town, and Nils Dickman (Stellan Skarsgård) runs the plow that keeps open the roads to connect the burg to civilization.
Tragedy hits home when his son Ingvar (Aron Eskeland) apparently dies of a drug overdose. However, Nils suspects foul play, and he traces Ingvar’s potential murder to Ole “Greven” Forsby (Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen), a major drug lord.
Intent on revenge, Nils launches a violent crusade to kill everyone involved in his son’s demise. This leads to a mix of complicated paths.
When Hollywood remains a foreign property, the common attitude usually feels that the US version is inferior to the original. In most cases, this belief probably stands as accurate.
With Order, though, I found a movie whose remake worked well for me. This left less room for improvement between it and Cold Pursuit.
Also, Pursuit used Hans Petter Moland, the man who also made Order. Given his presence behind the camera, Pursuit felt less like an adaptation and more like a literal remake.
Indeed, stylistic similarities abound. For instance, both movies use on-screen text cards to connote the deaths of various characters.
Both also tell virtually identical stories – and largely tell them in the same way in terms of the way the narrative develops. The biggest change revolves around tone.
Whereas Pursuit offered a glossier, more outrageous feel, Order skews down a darker path. Pursuit showed a strong influence from Tarantino and the Coen brothers, whereas Order plays matters more straight.
Not that Order lacks any dark humor, as wry moments abound. However, Order treats these in a more subtle way than the occasionally over the top Pursuit.
Some may view this as an indication that Order provides a more satisfying experience, but I wouldn’t agree. While different, Pursuit works just as well as the original film.
Order simply brings a more reality-based, less comedic piece. As implied, the film doesn’t go down a perpetually grim path, but it sticks with a more somber tone that makes it a more effective drama.
In addition, the change in lead actors creates a notable difference, mainly because we more readily swallow Liam Neeson as someone who would take down baddies than we do for Stellan Skarsgård. We’ve seen Neeson in so many “aging badass” parts that we never question his lethal capabilities, whereas we more readily accept Skarsgård as a common man.
Again, this doesn’t become an area where I favor one over the other. Neeson fits the tone of Pursuit whereas Skarsgård becomes a better match for Order.
Probably because I saw it first, I prefer Pursuit, but Order offers just as good a movie – and many will like it more due to its more reality-based orientation. This turns into an effective mix of dark comedy, thriller and drama.