A movie based on true events is a sentence used heavily, but also lightly in recent years to boost ratings and create “hype” around the movie. Most of the time, that is. Sometimes events that happened in real life are so horrific that they have to be toned down for a movie. The Frozen Ground is a movie about Robert Hansen, a serial killer who lived and operated near Anchorage, Alaska (did anyone say Operation Anchorage 2: Revenge of the BoS) in the seventies and early eighties.
He killed, tortured, and raped over 30 women, and you can actually see their faces during the end credits. Truly horrifying. I think because of the story everyone involved in this movie gave their best, including two aging and struggling leads, Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. Finally, a good movie with Mr. Cage and I am liking more and more the new Cusack. And don’t worry, this isn’t one of those Nic’s wild performances where he’s his usual amped self, but a toned-down and impressive one.
Jack Halcombe is an Alaskan policeman who found his man. This is usually the hardest part of any investigation, and what comes after a formality. Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t have enough evidence to tie the disappearances of many young women to his guy. Until Cindy Paulson Appears. Cindy had an encounter with his guy, but she has doubts that this will ever be resolved. Meanwhile…
I already mentioned the experience of the two lead actors, Cage and Cusack, that was perhaps crucial in making this movie great. It’s like everyone involved read about the real events and said: we gotta do this right. This is a very serious and disturbing movie, not so visually but more psychologically.
Director Scott Walker managed to create that fucked up atmosphere, without much concern about how the viewer might feel. Instead, he tried and succeeded to depict as realistically as possibly a mind of a serial killer. And I loved the fact that this isn’t some wild story about a cop who breaks all the rules to get his guy but the realistic telling of a man, actually a team, working hard within the bounds of the law to get their man.
Shot in just 28 days, it’s amazing just how good it turned out. It’s not the best movie about serial killers, but it most certainly isn’t the worst. It reminded me of another movie about a detective and serial killer, Insomnia, set in the Nightmute, Alaska. So, if you’re looking to continue watching something like this why not check out Al Pacino and Robin Williams in a movie directed by none other than Christopher Nolan.
And while we’re on a subject, it also reminded me strangely enough of a movie set in Australia, a movie about a giant wild boar. Why you ask? Well, because the organized crime syndicates, prostitution and all the other bad stuff was brought onto by a boom in oil business. Similar things were happening in Australia, only concerning meat packing and hunting industry. So, check out Razorback if you want to know more about it.
Director: Scott Walker
Writer: Scott Walker
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris, John Cusack, Radha Mitchell, 50 Cent
Fun Facts: The plane used by Robert Hansen in the movie is a Piper PA-18 Super Cub. The real life Hansen used the same aircraft type.