Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    May 16, 2013
    80
    The film is anchored by a searing, incredibly intense performance by Michael Shannon, whose remorselessness as a hit man is as relentless as Shannon’s portrayal of him.
  2. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    May 15, 2013
    40
    There is an enormous amount of effort put into this film which at its end just seems like noise, wind, and dust.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 16, 2013
    50
    Director/co-writer Ariel Vromen has made a grimly passable crime drama in the sub-“GoodFellas”/“Sopranos” vein, and if you’re looking for something to order up on a slow Saturday night, it’ll do.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 16, 2013
    75
    So it's a bit squishy at the center. But the film is sleek, purposeful and extremely well acted.
  5. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Jun 3, 2013
    60
    This solemn, blood-soaked thriller lacks the dynamism of its star, but is an impressive showcase for him nonetheless: it’s as hard to look away from Shannon’s performance as it is to look directly at it.
  6. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    May 1, 2013
    67
    Ultimately, this is a grim (both visually and thematically) character study of an unsympathetic character, leaving Shannon, who manages to deliver another impressive performance, twisting in the ice-cold wind.
  7. Reviewed by: Laremy Legel
    Apr 26, 2013
    45
    Discordance, meet The Iceman, a film so wrong-footed it should take Eugene Levy out for a coffee.
  8. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 2, 2013
    40
    The great failing of The Iceman is not in giving us a monster, but in not making us care.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Apr 30, 2013
    88
    The dialogue is hard-bitten and Mamet-sharp.
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    May 2, 2013
    80
    As Richard Kuklinski, the Garden State guy who sleepwalks into an infamously deadly life he was born for, Shannon hits a whole other level.
  11. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    May 6, 2013
    60
    The problem might actually be (gasp) Michael Shannon himself — shocking, because he’s one of our greatest actors — who is only half-right for this film’s portrait of Kuklinski.
  12. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Apr 30, 2013
    75
    The point of The Iceman is “Even monsters are human,” but it takes a great actor to make a dubious theme convincing.
  13. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 2, 2013
    50
    The overall effect tends to be as chilly and monotonous as Shannon’s demeanor as Kuklinski — a real disappointment.
  14. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    May 4, 2013
    75
    It's an unsettling piece that reminds us how even monsters aspire to living the American dream.
  15. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Apr 29, 2013
    38
    Michael Shannon has no interior to play with, since the film seems intent on ridding Richie of any emotion other than love for his family, and also no catharsis to build toward.
  16. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 17, 2013
    75
    Because the sociopath at the center of this family portrait never asks for forgiveness, The Iceman is truly chilling.
  17. Reviewed by: Ben Kenigsberg
    May 1, 2013
    58
    Alternating scenes of the psycho-as-family-man with an increasingly grisly and desperate series of hits, it makes for a surprisingly monotonous sit for a movie that also features a killer named Mr. Freezy.
  18. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    May 17, 2013
    50
    Michael Shannon is an overpowering actor, and in The Iceman, the best that he can do is wrestle the movie around him to a stalemate.
  19. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Apr 26, 2013
    60
    As a demonstration of the banality of evil, The Iceman is certainly effective and Shannon's performance gives the film its power.
  20. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Apr 26, 2013
    80
    The Iceman is a vivid evocation of a remorseless sociopath sustaining a double life as a contract killer and devoted family man. Gritty, gripping and unrelentingly intense, Ariel Vromen’s film boasts richly detailed character work from an ideal cast.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    May 2, 2013
    90
    If the narrow biographical focus of “The Iceman” prevents it from being a great crime movie, on its own more modest terms it is an indelible film that clinches Mr. Shannon’s status as a major screen actor.
  22. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Apr 30, 2013
    50
    It’s never a painful watch, more of a faintly dull, seen-it-all-before one. If nothing else, it’s evidence that these days, being based on a true story isn’t enough to elevate a film in a well-worn genre ahead of the pack.
  23. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Jun 7, 2013
    40
    There are cameos from James Franco, Stephen Dorff, a comically moustachioed David Schwimmer and an unrecognisably hirsute Chris Evans as various lowlifes. A pity, then, that nothing else in Ariel Vromen’s movie is remotely on Shannon’s level, from the plodding, Scorsese-clone script to the needlessly lifeless editing and cinematography.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 2, 2013
    70
    This Mafia tale doesn’t aspire to the heights of a "Godfather" or the epic sprawl of "The Sopranos." Vromen and cowriter Morgan Land are content to bring subtle shadings to the tale of a strange man in a dirty business.
  25. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Apr 30, 2013
    40
    There’s a ruthlessly effective movie to be made from this material, and you couldn’t hope for a better performer than Shannon, who can turn on a dime between quiet malevolence and volcanic rage, to inhabit the sociopathic central figure. Unfortunately, this overproduced biopic constantly counteracts the actor’s committed efforts with its pale-imitation slickness.
  26. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    May 27, 2013
    80
    Kneel before shannon. His primal, powerhouse turn drives this criminal biopic. the film won’t win any prizes for originality, but its star proves he’s a real man of steel.
  27. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 2, 2013
    75
    Shannon's restrained and mesmerizing portrayal, bolstered by an excellent offbeat supporting cast, makes for an edgy and compelling Mob yarn.
  28. Reviewed by: Rebecca Moss
    Apr 30, 2013
    60
    Ultimately The Iceman is a blend of Mafia-film cliché and the jarring reality of lives undone by crime.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Sep 6, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. WOW! I really liked this film (that's why I gave it a 10 out of 10!). The gritty story is interesting as can be thanks to the outrageous true story of Richard Kuklinski, the famed contract killer, but the real heart of the film is the amazing performances from the entire cast. While it's awesome to see David Schwimmer do a role he's never done before (and do it well), Ray Liotta play the same character he always plays (but do it well) and see Chris Evans--Captain America himself--play a killer in an ice cream truck, the best part is watching Michael Shannon once again prove that he is one of the best actors of this generation. He's no stranger to intensity but the level he brought to this film is enough to warrant my score! Full Review »
  2. Mar 25, 2014
    9
    Its essentially The Iceman Tapes - The Movie. But its well done and this michael shannon bloke is well cast. Be sure to search kuklinksy on youtube after you've watched Full Review »
  3. Jan 31, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. You see the Iceman crying? Once and a while I do like watching a raw mob movie.And when it's based on true facts then this is really a special treat for me.Not that I have the ambition for a career change in my personal life.Although you can foresee what it is about and the film is fairly limited in terms of content, I found this a damn excellent played film which captivated and intrigued me to the end. I have seen the interview of Kuklinski,but I didn't think it was that interesting.I thought it was really just an assassin working for the Mafia.However, the film shows that besides the fact that this was his daily job,Kuklinski actually performed these murders also for pleasure and perhaps as a retaliation. An ice-cold killer with a deadly twist in his sick mind. Actually, only the career of Kuklinski and the way he combined this with an apparently perfectly normal life as a family man to the outside world,is shown in this film. That is the only criticism I can come up with. It's only limited to that issue. The performances of Michael Shannon are truly extraordinary and admirable.He plays the cold-blooded psychopathic killer brilliant. First that imperturbable "Je mon fou" look and then turning into that cozy family man who looks in a loving way at his children. Terribly oppressive, terrifying and giving you the shivers. His natural stature helps him to create the image of an impressive Polish guy. It's obvious that thanks to his acting, the movie is lifted up to a higher level. A brilliant moment and a clarification that Kuklinski doesn't only kill people for a living, was the moment he asked James Franco to pray to God to see if He would come down to rescue him. Eventually he simply killed him.It was just a game for Kuklinski at that time and a clear and precise way to demonstrate his dominance. A face that never shows any emotion,except when things go differently than planned or the moments he feels insulted or indignant about someones actions. You can see the rage building up together with an inner gurgling growl. That's the moment when the beast in him emerges. Breathtaking ! The supporting cast is also beautifully complemented. Winona Ryder as Kuklinski 's wife was irrefutably perfect for this role. The moments when she begins to realize that something is not right and the mood swings are getting worse, are played superbly. She also looks fragile and like an angel. Especially when Kuklinski takes her in his arms. Ray Liotta was way better than in "Killing them softly". His scarred face with those icy eyes make him perfect material to interpret a mob boss. Calculated and insensitive. The moment where he has to liquidate Rosenthal was magnificent played.And yes, David Schwimmer performed to my surprise as the Jewish Rosenthal. I didn't recognize him immediately with that huge mustache and ponytail. But unfortunately he reminds me every time of Ross. The way he moves and the way he talks. Every time I expect him to talk with that slow depressed voice. But actually it didn't bother me that much.Ventimiglia fitted just perfectly in this movie and despite the limited role Chris Evans delivered a meritorious contribution. The content of the film was basically limited to the necessary things in Kuklinski's life. His recruitment by Demeo and the dirty work he does for him. His family life that he tries to protect and to shield from the rest. And finally his arrest. And that was for me a downer. For example, they only used 10 seconds to shed a light on the youth of Kuklinski. He grew up in inhumane conditions bearing inexpressibly physical violence. This short fragment shows how he is terribly beaten by his father. I think it's a missed opportunity they didn't use that item more. The fact that Kuklinski grew up in a totally antisocial environment with parents who really didn't give a damn about their children, partly ensured that Kuklinski degenerated into a violent person. Both his father and his religious mother regularly used physical violence. One of his brothers died cause of that. Afterwards he was even physically abused by nuns as an altar boy, and he was a victim of bullying. It was probably at this time that he has undergone a metamorphosis. Philip Carlo goes deeper in this matter in his biography of Richard Kuklinski "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer".Kuklinski apparently brutally killed one of the bullies with a club and got rid of him with deadly efficiency. Kuklinski claimed that he then realized that it was better to give the punches then to receive them. Apparently the part about the youth of Kuklinski leaves a big impression on the reader. Unfortunately this is completely omitted in the film . Why wasn't there also a broader explanation about the developments in his eventual arrest ? For how long were the feds watching him already ? Which informants worked on the case ? How did they proceed to infiltrate Kuklinski 's world? And why wasn't there a m Full Review »