Cold Blood serves a compelling thriller that is unfortunately imbalanced by writing decisions, but leading stars Jean Reno and Sarah Lind save it.
When I saw the freezing exterior in 2019’s Cold Blood, I was prepped for Jean Reno‘s version of Polar, witnessing the older man stark naked near a frozen lake, ready to lash out at any hitman that dares stray into his path. Cold Blood is certainly less wild, and the story more straight forward. Reno plays Henry, a hitman that lives out in a cabin near a lake, in the middle of nowhere, dense with snow. Near his cabin, a woman named Melody (Sarah Lind) severely injures herself while venturing across the snowy hills with her snow-mobile.
Cold Blood tells a story in which the hitman has to make a crucial decision; does he trust Melody or leave her for dead? The film is soaked in paranoia, with both characters’ minds battling to assess each other.
Cold Blood would have benefitted from a 90-minute movie about these two characters, allowing the audience to fill in the gaps with their imagination, but director Frédéric Petitjean opted to throw in plenty of exposition to intensely hone in the scenario surrounding Melody, and why she’s ended up in snowy, barren land with a killer.
The film is heavily disjointed with some questionable editing. Cold Blood struggles to flit between the cabin next to the lake and what is happening in the modern world where Melody’s family, friends, and acquaintances are trying to find her. With the flow lost very early on, we are offered a fractured thriller unable to fixate on a potentially intense story.
The dialogue does not help the film’s case, with some of it awfully wooden, and the audio suspiciously loud when a character’s face is not in focus with the camera. It’s understandable how the production crew may have hit some snags while recording their scenes, and $2.7 million is by no means an enormous budget in today’s environment, but it is hard to ignore. Cold Blood has some technical mishaps.
What the audience can enjoy are the moments between Jean Reno and Sarah Lind’s character who spend the majority of the story scaling each other to see who breaks first. Reno is no Mads Mikkelsen in the wild, but he plays the hitman well, adapting to each scene to encourage the audience to believe he is a genuine danger.
Cold Blood is not a write-off, but it would have been a far better movie if a few writing decisions did not imbalance the story.