DVD REVIEW: The Frozen Ground

Salisbury Journal: Picture: PA Photo/Koch Media Picture: PA Photo/Koch Media

DETECTIVE Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) is preparing to leave Anchorage with his wife Allie (Radha Mitchell) and children when he receives a call that the body of a young woman has been found in the icy wilderness.

Soon after, Jack receives a file on Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens), a 17-year-old prostitute who claims that she escaped from the clutches of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), who held her hostage in his basement den and raped her.

Jack interviews Cindy and is moved by her tearful testimony, his interest piqued when the young woman reveals: “He said there were seven girls before me and I was lucky because they usually stay for a week.”

Convinced that Hansen is a dangerous serial killer, Jack works tirelessly to build a case against his prime suspect aided by Sergeant Lyle Haugsven (Dean Norris).

Based on the real-life hunt for serial killer Robert Hansen, The Frozen Ground is a solid genre piece, which embraces hoary archetypes: the grizzled cop close to retirement, the working girl who has been abused by the system, the family man with a sadistic streak.

Cage is unusually subdued, almost sleepwalking through some scenes, but Hudgens continues to impress.

DAMON SMITH

Comments (1)

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8:47pm Sat 8 Feb 14

FGraham says...

Although viewers may be disappointed by some of the formulaic elements of The Frozen Ground that the reviewer points out, the story of Hansen's getting away with murder time and time again is very much true and head shake inducing. Cusack (Hansen) is no Hannibal Lector, i.e. cultured, charming (when not eating someone!), etc. but Hansen is a stuttering self loathing social misfit who takes out his frustrations on people who ironically he considers subhuman (i.e. street walkers, and strippers) particularly, in the movie at least, the Hudgens character. If in addition to formulaic elements such as the damsel in distress quality of The Frozen Ground story the viewer of "The Frozen Ground" is left unsatisfied with the necessary compression of events, composite characters, etc. that are necessary to produce a movie of less than two hours in length "based on a true story", and wants to learn more about the real life serial killer Hansen and the case that inspired the movie one could do worse then read "Fair Game" (http://tinyurl.com/
mqssp5z) by Bernard DuClos that was recently republished. Reading it as a companion to the movie will help the viewer of "The Frozen Ground" realize the liberties that were inevitably taken to make it suitable for the silver screen as well as understand elements of Hansen's life and killing spree that the picture did not have time to delve into such as more of Hansen's background (which early on indicated a propensity toward crime) and the backstory of the whole oil pipeline boom that produced the mafia controlled prostitution/strip bar scene that Hudgen's character is entangled in.
Although viewers may be disappointed by some of the formulaic elements of The Frozen Ground that the reviewer points out, the story of Hansen's getting away with murder time and time again is very much true and head shake inducing. Cusack (Hansen) is no Hannibal Lector, i.e. cultured, charming (when not eating someone!), etc. but Hansen is a stuttering self loathing social misfit who takes out his frustrations on people who ironically he considers subhuman (i.e. street walkers, and strippers) particularly, in the movie at least, the Hudgens character. If in addition to formulaic elements such as the damsel in distress quality of The Frozen Ground story the viewer of "The Frozen Ground" is left unsatisfied with the necessary compression of events, composite characters, etc. that are necessary to produce a movie of less than two hours in length "based on a true story", and wants to learn more about the real life serial killer Hansen and the case that inspired the movie one could do worse then read "Fair Game" (http://tinyurl.com/ mqssp5z) by Bernard DuClos that was recently republished. Reading it as a companion to the movie will help the viewer of "The Frozen Ground" realize the liberties that were inevitably taken to make it suitable for the silver screen as well as understand elements of Hansen's life and killing spree that the picture did not have time to delve into such as more of Hansen's background (which early on indicated a propensity toward crime) and the backstory of the whole oil pipeline boom that produced the mafia controlled prostitution/strip bar scene that Hudgen's character is entangled in. FGraham
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