August 26, 2019  (Web Review)

Cold Blood

Screen Media, 91 min., in French w/English subtitles, not rated, DVD: $24.99, Blu-ray: $29.99, Sept. 3

Reviewer rating: 1.5/4

Jean Reno plays aging hit-man Henry in Frédéric Petitjean’s dismal attempt at a convoluted action thriller. After killing a businessman in the sauna of an exclusive club, Henry escapes to a remote lakeside hideaway deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. A pair of Washington state cops investigate the murder, one (Joe Anderson) a cynical, snarky young detective, and the other his calmer, about-to-be-transferred older partner (François Guétary). Simultaneously, a grim young woman (Sarah Lind) rents a snowmobile, drives it recklessly into the forest, and crashes and crawls away from the debris, eventually making her way to Henry’s cabin (who takes her in and tends to her injuries). It turns out that she is being followed by a sinister man (David Gyasi). All these story threads eventually converge in a fashion meant to be surprising, but the revelations along the way are as predictable as they are implausible. Ihor Ciszkewycz has a dignified cameo as the murdered man’s widow, who although institutionalized with Alzheimer’s provides important information, but Reno seems tired, and both Anderson and Lind give stilted performances. Cinematographer Thierry Arbogast’s widescreen images of snow-covered pine trees (actually shot in Ukraine) are striking, but Cold Blood is otherwise weighed down by insipid characterizations, banal dialogue, pedestrian direction, and an irritating music score. Not recommended. (F. Swietek)