Having any of Nicolas Cage or John Cusack in the cast is enough to make me curious to see a movie in which one of them appears,even more when they play together, so I did not have much hesitation in deciding to see ‘The Frozen Ground‘ despite the rather unfortunate cinematic experiences I have had in recent years with the bizarre roles chosen by Nicolas Cage. Critics and viewers who rate movies on IMDB have not even been enthusiastic either, and yet Scott Walker‘s film (at his first and only feature film so far, also the script writer) did not disappoint me.

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2005374/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2005374/

 

‘The Frozen Ground’ is based on true crime cases in Alaska in the 1970s and 1980s telling the story of the investigation that led to the arrest of a serial killer and rapist named Robert Hansen (the role played by John Cusack in the film). It is one of those cases where the criminal is known to the audience since the beginning of the film, and the story focuses on the details of the investigation and the legal and procedural aspects that allow the suspect to be arrested and accused. The suspect was apparently what is called a “normative citizen” and the American legal system as well as the social conveniences were on his side. The investigation conducted by the police officer (played by Nicolas Cage) had as witness a young prostitute, whose testimony was questionable because of her social status. Reality does not always provide enough real data for fiction films, and some more fiction should be built around it. In this case, screen writer Scott Walker focused on the relationship and confidence building between the policeman and the only surviving victim of the criminal who kidnapped, raped and murdered young women.

 

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The criminal procedural elements in ‘The Frozen Ground’ are quite trivial and familiar to viewers from many other similar movies. The film, however, manages to remain on a decent level with a well-built action, with a realistic description of the violent and corrupt environment of the Alaskan border towns during the oil boom, with the cinematography of the frozen landscapes where some of the victims end their lives in a horrific manner. Nicolas Cage acts low key, somehow in a monotonous manner, in the role of the dedicated policeman with a soul, John Cusack has to small a role for an actor of his caliber, but it is worthwhile waiting for the scene of the interrogation at the end of the movie that brings the two together on the screen. Vanessa Hudgens is the acting revelation, as the young vulnerable woman, victim of family and social traumas, and succeeds be on screen more than just a victimized woman. Without any significant sparks, ‘The Frozen Ground’ is a more than just another true crime docu-drama and watching it is no wasted time.