Cinema Reviews: Courtroom showdown leads to cold pursuit

ON THE BASIS OF SEX (12A)

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 12:17 pm
Undated film still handout from On The Basis Of Sex. Pictured: Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film Digest. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Storyteller Distribution Co., LLC/Focus Features/Jonathan Wenk. All Rights Reserved. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ Film Digest.

Director Mimi Leder's glossy drama focuses on the 16-year period between the arrival of legal trailblazer Ruth Bader Ginsburg at Harvard Law School and her appearance in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to argue for a tax deduction for caregiver expenses on behalf of a 63-year-old male client.

Screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman, who is Ginsburg's nephew, pays glowing tribute to his aunt during two hours of gently paced human drama. Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer are an attractive on-screen pairing and Leder's film builds predictably to a courtroom showdown where Ruth argues passionately that the 178 federal laws which differentiate on the basis of gender are obstacles for the aspirations of future generations. The leads are ably supported by Kathy Bates as political activist Dorothy Kenyon and Justin Theroux as ACLU legal director Mel Wulf, who answer Ginsburg's call to arms.

COLD PURSUIT (15)

Revenge is a dish best served at sub-zero temperature in Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland's English-language remake of his 2014 black comedy In Order Of Disappearance.

Screenwriter Frank Baldwin transplants the stylised blood-letting from snow-laden Scandinavia to the ski slopes of a fictional Colorado town where white powder on the ground could be trafficked cocaine. In this close-knit community, snowplough driver Nelson Coxman (Liam Neeson) declares war on the drug cartel kingpin (Tom Bateman) who murdered his son. Cold Pursuit caters to the base desires of Neeson's core fanbase with bone-crunching fist fights and a shoot-out, albeit with a hero who collapses, exhausted and gasping for breath, after each exertion. The Northern Irish leading man and co-stars fumble the macabre humour but one delayed punchline with a paraglider hits its target with satisfying split-second timing.