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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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I bought this film on Blu-ray mainly due to it going cheap, as I'd heard some sufficiently positive remarks about it to take the risk and as it includes the usually reliable presence of Nicolas Cage and John Cusack in lead roles.

If you need to learn a bit about the 'story' (more on that in the next paragraph), the Amazon synopsis does a good job without any real spoilers.

Of particular importance, the only thing that I would mention (and which I didn't realise beforehand) is that the featured criminal, several of the victims and the occurrences portrayed are either real or at least based on factual events; this makes the overall effect of watching this 'story' MUCH more significant and I wish I had realised that fact before.

*** It does. for me, also make the way this film is marketed a little distasteful (eg references to the crime thriller 'Seven') and, with hindsight, I was definitely unhappy with the style of musical accompaniment used at the end credits, ESPECIALLY as it includes a series of photos of some of the victims in happier times - I think both these aspects are totally inappropriate for the grim (essentially true) subject matter, what on earth were the producers/marketers thinking (or not probably) ???

On Blu-ray everything looks and sounds as good as you would expect of a modern release, but since it also does not rely on special-effects etc, and as the settings are predominantly in buildings (with occasional scenes in expansive natural settings) AND the soundtrack is essentially 'just' dialogue I don't necessarily think that it is essential to watch it in HD.

Leaving the factual element and those inappropriate aspects of the production/marketing aside, like any film which dramatises the goings-on of a serial killer, and the progress of the police piecing-together their discoveries and trying to solve cases of murder, there is obviously no humour and a lot is rather grim.

As a strong compliment, I think the structure of this film shares a lot of similarities to the (earlier) excellent Fincher film 'Zodiac', especially as that film also had a foundation in fact; both concentrate more on the police activities, despite us knowing in 'The Frozen Ground' the identity of the killer - and that was the right thing to do I think.

So, the telling of events is well-executed and the performance of all the cast is similar accomplished; this leaves me a little confused when I see that many critics disliked the film, although various 'viewer' outlets show more favourable responses, including the reviews on this website of course !

The picture is sharp/bright and flawless and the sound clear albeit rather inactive, BUT due to the predominantly dramatic content I would have thought that the DVD would offer perfectly acceptable viewing quality...

The Blu-ray includes just a 20min featurette which I doubt I'll ever watch, BUT despite that it's still worth pointing out that the US (Region A locked unfortunately) release adds a UV copy, about 90mins of additional featurette-type material AND a writer/director audio commentary - why do we miss out ?

I've attached a photo of the back of the disc box.

So, whilst not in the same league as the similar'ish 'Zodiac' I'll certainly watch this film again at some point due to the notable actor performances, rather than any mystery and tension since they are quite lacking (partly because the killer is identified early on, but 'The Silence of the Lambs' proves that doesn't have to be a hindrance). Yes, like 'Zodiac', this film is also very slow-paced but whilst 'The Frozen Ground' does have those additional shortcomings it is still a very watchable drama which looks and sounds good on Blu-ray.
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22 comments| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 October 2013
Robert Hansen was a serial killer and when you start watching this movie they assume you already know this and so im not giving anything away because they let you know right from the off who the guilty guy is. But the intriguing and interesting thing about this movie is the length they have to go to to catch the guy. It is reminiscent of the excellent Brian Dennehy tv film "To catch a killer" concerning John Wayne Gacy, and in the same way this shows things mostly from the police's point of view. It is not gory or particularly gruesome, but it is highly charged with suspense as both police and Hansen hunt for the one victim who got away from him. That is the core part of the story and the truth is perhaps enhanced slightly to make it more compelling.What may seem strange is how long it takes cop Cage to go and take a look at the prime suspect, leaving Hansen to wander around freely when the surviving victim has already named him. But the reason for this is that his neighbour had given him an alibi and he was considered by the police to be a normal respectable citizen and so they cleared him and closed the case because the survivor was just a 'dumb hooker,'and to them not a credible witness. But as with the Yorkshire ripper case in the UK, if they had listened to the surviving 'dumb hooker' witness (in that case Marcella Claxton,) they would have got the best of all descriptions and would have nailed Sutcliffe much sooner and saved many lives. The scenario here is frustratingly similar, and no less compelling. Enter Cage's character who fortunately does believe the girl and in this movie Cage is excellent in a non-exuberant performance and so is Cusack who plays Hansen. Not as visually or psychologically disturbing as 'Seven,' or as detailed and in-depth as 'Zodiac,' this is still a very good movie,mostly because it is a true story.
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The background of the film based on real events is set in the
seedy part of downtown 'Anchorage' 'Alaska'
Bodies of women are found, State Trooper 'Sgt Jack Halcombe see's
links to a number to a number of missing down then years, and
comes up with one name 'Robert Hansen' who had been questioned on
previous occasions.
Proving 'Hansen' to be the abductor and killer could rest on an
18-year old prostitute, 'Cindy' who had escaped captivity, but....
she's frightened.
A solid and often tense drama which will hold your attention throughout.
Unlike an earlier reviewer, I have been a bit of a fan of 'Nicolas Cage'
ever since watching him in movies such as 'Face/Off' 'Con-Air' and 'The
Rock' in this, he's superb as the investigating officer.
'John Cusack' plays a convincing role as the abductor'
( currently available on Region 'A' it will be available on Region 'B'
13th January 2014 ...well worth taking time out to watch )
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 July 2014
I watched this recently on Netflix, based on an interest in real life dramas.

The film is covers the events of the serial killer Robert Hansen, who was actively murdering women in Alaska during the 70's and early 80's.

Cast wise very good Nicholas Cage plays Jack Halcombe the investigating police office, we have John Cusack as the killer "Bob" he fits into the role well and even looks quite close in appearance to the real Hansen. Vanessa Hudgens is Cindy Paulson the prostitute who survives an attack from "Bob" and helps Jack to track down the killer. Look out for a few other good supporting cast members including 50 Cent and Dean Norris (Hank- Breaking bad) as a police sergeant.

The story does a good job of unfolding events starting with the rescue of "Cindy" in the opening scenes. As time goes on more bodies are found and it's starting to become clear that the police are probably looking for a serial killer. Jack has to try to piece together events, but eventually manages to get Cindy to assist him, after her initial fear of getting involved. Much of the film explores the cat and mouse nature of the two men, some effective scenes with Cusack showing his dual life (a married man with kids) and his "basement" of terror where he assaults the women.

It's hard to find fault with the film in a lot of ways, everything seems good from the story, screenplay and cast are solid. The directing for me is decent, though had a hard hitter like Michael Mann been the directors chair I think overall polish and style of directing would be stronger. I did find the hand held camera work a bit "camera man had a few too many Jack Daniels" ie a bit shaky for me (not always but a little distracting) However there is one scene showing a woman hunted by the killer,with the viewpoint of her last moments, which did stand out.

The film got mixed reviews I think overall it's good, maybe not quite the classic it might have been (can't really pin down why)..still I found it a good watch, well worth investigating if you like true crime films.
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on 18 January 2014
I confess to not being a fan of either Cage or Cusack, however, they both produce outstanding, and sensitive, performances, as does Vanessa Hudgens whose character somehow managed to escape the clutches of Cusack's murderer, in this vivid portrayal of events leading to the capture, and well deserved conviction, of the brutal and clinically insane murderer.

There are good performances from the supporting actors also. Pointless attempting to explain further how this movie pans out as other reviewers have covered most aspects of this gruesome tale. Suffice to say it is a film which creates huge amounts of tension and will keep anyone watching it glued until the credits have finished rolling, the sound track has some decent moments also.

An all round well made production and well worth watching.
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on 24 March 2015
A subdued thriller with decent performances throughout, The Frozen Ground ticks most of the right boxes.

It's has a great moody atmosphere and populates the story with some real grimy characters. The fact it is based in true events gives it another gritty edge and provides some substance to the action.

John Cusack plays against type and is suitably creepy in an unshowy role. Nicholas Cage can swing from monosybilic or total nut job but here he has a cool restraint which suits the character well.

The action is decent if fairly rote but then being based on a true story means there will be some constraints. The story is tragic and gripping and overall you really do will the police to find the evidence they need.

A thriller that genuinely thrills is rare and The Frozen Ground just about pulls it off. Worth a watch.
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on 1 September 2013
This film takes place in cold conservative Alaska where there is no crime and everyone has a job because they all own guns...and something about the oil companies. This production is based on the true story of serial killer and rapist Robert Hansen played far too convincingly by John Cusack. After prostitute Cindy Paulson (Vanessa Hudgens) escapes from Hansen, the cases of unsolved crimes are given to Jack Holcolme (Nicolas Cage) the only cop in America who has trouble getting a warrant.

This is not a who-dun-it, but rather the story leading up to the arrest of Robert Hansen. It gives you glimpses of Anchorage's red light district filled with pimps, prostitutes, strippers, drug dealers, and a moose. This is a gritty tale. 5 stars for those who enjoy true crime stories.

Parental Guide: F-bombs, stripper nudity. The film deals with rape, but does not show it. Limited amounts of blood, relatively tame on the graphics. It is not an exploitation style film.
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An excellent movie starring one of my favourites, Nicholas Cage. Cage plays a policeman hunting a serial killer however the killer, although the they know who he is, is proving elusive as the police have no real evidence.

Set in Alaska, there is some breathtaking scenery and this movie is worth watching just for that reason. A cracking good story.
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on 1 May 2015
well acted, and if you like this genre then see it.
Not sure why compared to Se7en, its closer to the Zodiac really. Its afterall based on a true story.
It manages to be engaging, although is not a whodoneit, more of a character analsis of sorts, and tale of two opposing characters of good and evil, but not overstated. It just aims to treat the subject matter with tact and objectivity. loses its way a bit in the second half, but still good film of this genre. Cusack really does convince in some scenes, showing the cowardice and arrogant selfishness of such evil.
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on 19 October 2015
Based on an unheard true story about a serial killer in Alaska this fails to thaw quick enough to sustain suspense. Perhaps the killer is revealed too early? True story maybe but some scenes are so contrived for added drama it disrespected those watching. Had trouble hearing and understanding what the actors were saying sometimes. Blu Ray does not have subtitle features for some reason. Average thriller.
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