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Leeds Movie Fans Meetup Group Message Board › The Iceman - Review

The Iceman - Review

user 8204205
Group Organizer
Leeds, GB
Post #: 795
Perhaps not the best time to sit in a movie theatre as it was so sunny outside, but nevertheless 9 of us for this docudrama about notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon). As the tagline indicates, when he was finally arrested in 1986 neither his wife (Winona Ryder) or daughters had any idea (apparently) what his real job was...and as the poster goes, he was a loving husband and devoted father + ruthless killer.

During the first hour of the film as Kuklinski develops his ruthless streak and we see how he becomes a mafia hitman, despite being 'a polack' this is entertaining enough, and I enjoyed the incidental music and all the cinephotography and you could hardly argue about any of the acting, or most of the casting for that matter.

Ray Liotta did his usual amusing brand of over-acting and we had James Franco, Stephen Dorff and Chris Evans. We also had David Schwimmer who was woefully miscast as Liotta's slightly charming stupid mate 'from the old days'.

Eventually though the movie wore me down, it was very repetitive, Iceman does a killing, comes home, acts fairly normal, does another killing, goes home, buys his wife a present, etc. My problem with the film is I had zero sympathy for the central characters. I didn't really care what happened to them, which pretty much restricted my enjoyment of the film.

We certainly had a knowledgeable bunch here tonight, Jayne, Blanca, Mags, Andrew and two debutants who know their stuff in Austin and Ian. It was nice to make a re-acquaintance with Laura after a gap of a couple of years: she was here with hubby Roger. So no real surprises when my immediate thoughts about the film gained some credence in our post movie chat in the backroom of The Brudenell. I think some of us wondered why the movie was made at all, but I think it was probably a good idea but all the aspects that would have had me intrigued, seemed to be missing, such as why Kuklinski had such a ruthless streak, what his life at home was really like, what was revealed at the trial, and especially what Kuklinski was thinking.

As a big cinephile I rarely would agree with people who say 'yeah but the book was better' but in this case that is almost certainly true. Indeed it may even have benefitted from a narrative from Kuklinski to help get inside his thoughts and make some sense of why he was leading such a crazy dual life. It certainly needed a better script writer (Morgan Land with help from director/producer Ariel Vromen) to flesh out the characters and to properly engage the audience.

Michael Shannon's character was so one dimensional that is was hardly a stretch for him as an actor. I ended up wishing that the movie had been made about Chris Evans' character instead, a rival hitman using a cover of 'Mr Freeze', a travelling ice cream salesman - dishing out free ice cream cones to small children in the park one minute, and offing some mark with cyanide spray the next. At least I might have engendered some sympathy towards him, Kuklinski deserved none.

That's the trouble with being snobbish about the end credits revealing the movie was 'based on a true story'. If you stick to the bare facts alone, it has to be one hell of a story to make it one hell of a film. 5/10
user 8204205
Group Organizer
Leeds, GB
Post #: 796
EG Try The Birdman of Alcatraz instead
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