Review by James Lindorf
Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional) stars as an aging hitman in Writer and first-time Director Frédéric Petitjean’s Cold Blood. Henry (Reno), a legendary hitman, is enjoying the isolation of his lakeside cabin within the vast wilderness of Washington’s Rocky Mountains. His quiet retirement is shattered when a young woman barely survives a snowmobile accident near his home. Henry is left with two options, let her die like so many people he has come across or save her. Cold Blood also stars Sarah Lind (A Simple Curve), Joe Anderson (Twilight), David Gyasi (Interstellar), François Guétary (“Lost”), and Samantha Bond (“Downton Abbey”). Screen Media will be bringing Cold Blood to select theaters and VOD July 5th.
When a film has engaging performances, it makes it hard to hate, but they can also be the most disappointing. Cold Blood starts off strong with Reno who slips back into a style of character he knows so well. Sarah Lind has a tough role to play as a character that may not be telling the whole truth. She spends a good amount of the 91-minute runtime in bed unconscious, recovering from the accident or one of Henry’s rough field surgeries. Joe Anderson is the fast-talking, obsessive cop who just transferred from the big city to the middle of nowhere. He is fun to watch, but his part of the story only exists to get Petitjean’s desired ending.
The most striking element of the film is its look, thanks to France’s possibly most celebrated cinematographer, Thierry Arbogast (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element). Cold Blood is filled with aerial shots that capture the beauty and desolation of the Carpathian Mountains, which served as a stand-in for the Rockies. The set for Henry’s last kill, filled with purple, orange, blue, and gold hues, is an exciting contrast to the stark environment in which the majority of the film takes place.
While the performances are enjoyable, and Cold Blood is great to look at, all praise ends there. It is clear that Petitjean loved Leon: The Professional. Both movies feature Jean Reno paired with an actress over 30 years younger than himself that he must choose whether or not to save, and both were filmed by Arbogast. Inconsistent dialogue can be overlooked if a compelling story is being told; unfortunately, Cold Blood frustrates more than it thrills and leaves the viewer with more questions than answers.