Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Quick Reviews: The Frozen Ground (2013)

A Direct-to-Video Film with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack- I might as well do one of them.  In this case, it is True Crime, so I'm in...
In 1983, Alaska has a long list of unsolved disappearances/murders.  The Police aren't doing great.
When a young woman comes forward with an explanation for who could be behind it all.
Could it be the seemingly-normal guy who is 'just a Baker?'  His name is Bob, so probably.
As the Cops try to make the case and end the killings, it all hinges upon this lady and all of her vices.
Can a surprisingly-sedate Cage (who is, for some reason, not playing the real Detective) make the case?
Or will Robert claim one more victim?

To find out, watch the Film (or read about the real case, which is also interesting).
A good, albeit loose adaptation of the real Story.  If you have an expectation of what one of these DTV Films with a former big-name Star is like, Ground mostly subverts it.  To be honest, I think that it is mostly Bruce Willis that gives them the reputation.  In any event, this one is thankfully not that exploitative and chooses to cover the Story centered around the Detective and the surviving Victim.  You could definitely do this in a somewhat-cruel way by showing all (or most) of the killings.  The facts about the case are pretty lurid, after all.  A crazy man would kidnap, abuse, rape and kill strangers in the Alaskan wilderness.  It would be an easy trap to focus on that part to make an intense Film where you follow the killer on his exploits.  By doing it this way, the Film is generally more palatable.  Cage is actually quite sedate when the Film calls for it and Cusack is a low-key form of evil here.  He walks that line between looking like the guy and making you legitimately-uncomfortable with Cusack himself here.  My only real issue here is all of the extra fluff they added for Drama.  Cage and his wife (Radha Mitchell) are planning to move and quit their jobs, conveniently right before he gets the case.  There's also the Sub-Plot with the Witness (Vanessa Hudgens) trying to make it on the Streets while the case is being worked.  There's even 50 Cent (a Producer here) as a Pimp who runs afoul of a man hired by Hansen to take out the Witness!  It's all mostly untrue and just there to be a bit dramatic.  That aside, The Frozen Ground is actually *gasp* pretty good.  To note, here is a comparison of the real guy and Cusack as him...
A solid, capable Thriller.  The only real problem- the need to overdramatize an already-interesting case.

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