First thing’s first. I didn’t really know anything about The Frozen Ground prior to committing 105 minutes of my life, beyond seeing the trailer and recognising the principals. I really like John Cusack and am always willing to give Nicolas Cage another chance to bring the goods. I was also momentarily piqued by the name Scott Walker, who is credited as director. And yes, on further investigation while preparing this article, it is indeed Scott Walker – just not the Scott Walker, which quite frankly was a disappointment. That is, of course, with all due respect to Scott Walker; I wish him well and hope he has a fine career in the movie-making industry.
I don’t know what it is with Nicolas Cage these days, but I get the impression he’s just “dialling-in” his performance. It’s a kind of all-or-nothing situation with Mr Cage. The manicness of Johnny Blaze or the laconic nature of any number of “everyman” roles. He clearly needs some sort of spark to reignite his career – can someone please get in touch with Mr Tarantino and get some sort of juicy role written for him! In all honesty, we had a great back-to-back treat with Bad Lieutenant and Kick-Ass in 2009/10 but they really are the exception to the “Cage rule” in quite a number of years. That said, it’s not as if his involvement in The Frozen Ground is a negative, he’s just there really, providing exposition and giving the narrative the forward momentum it needs. Our “yang” to Cage’s “yin” comes in the form of John Cusack and he plays the role with a subtle level of malevolence that’s probably needed when portraying a serial-killer who is a “fine upstanding member of the community”. It was also a pleasure to see Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) and Curtis Jackson (50 Cent) in well-played supporting roles.
So, here’s the deal. We’ve seen it all before. There’s no getting away from it. “Based on a true story”, “Based on actual events”, these are really two-a-penny these days. Which is a shame, because The Frozen ground is good. It’s not great, but it is worth a watch; and that’s because most of the world haven’t heard of Robert Hansen. Stories like these need to be told. We need to be made aware of the depths of human depravity some people stoop to. The anguish experienced by the loved ones of missing people; the terror exacted upon those missing individuals by sick human beings like Robert Hansen. So yes, we may have seen it all before, but The Frozen Ground is worth 105 minutes of your life.