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.
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.
There was a subtle development of a character I couldn't imagine possible with a figure like Richard Kuklinski. the performances were uniformally excellent. The writing and directing were especially strong. Kudos to Michael **** he's not nominated for an oscar, there's no justice.
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.
"The Iceman" is an unremarkable, yet competent biopic of its title character, Richard Kuklinski, providing only a limited insight into what made him one of the most prolific hit men in history. Claiming to have pulled off over one hundred hits to his name, Richard Kuklinski was a legendary mafia contract killer known for his intimidating stature, and his cold-hearted, nonchalant approach to his craft. "The Iceman," based on a true story, is a fairly standard biopic that is only exalted beyond mediocrity by an imposing performance from Michael Shannon. Shannon's commanding performance is clearly the centerpiece of the movie, as he effortlessly exudes a cold-hearted confidence as a genuine, psychopathic hitman.
Richard Leonard "The Iceman" Kuklinski was a Polish-American contract killer who worked his way up the chain of command, eventually landing a position as a hit man for the Gambino crime family. The 6'5", 300 pound "Iceman" claimed to have murdered over 100, or possibly 250 men (his recollections varied) between 1948 and 1986. Amidst all the murderous mayhem, Kuklinski found the time to marry and have two daughters as well, while successfully keeping his job as hit man a secret from them. Set primarily in the 1970s New Jersey, the film unfolds via episodic segments, chronicling Kuklinski's early beginnings editing porn movies and the marriage to his wife Deborah (Winona Ryder), to being recruited by the Gambino family by mob boss Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta), and finally his inevitable capture and conviction.
Kuklinski was an impenetrable individual, and Shannon is first-rate in a suitably complex performance. Shannon bounces back and forth between family man and maniacal murderer with a sinister ease. Kuklinski exhibits an array of methods utilized to complete the task at hand, along with his trademark, freezing his victims for months before disposing of the bodies.
An unusual collection for a supporting cast does a fine job overall. Chris Evans plays Robert, or Mr. Freezy, a cold-hearted killer who drives an ice cream truck who also works for the mob. James Franco plays Marty, a prospective hit. David Schwimmer plays Josh, Roy's right-hand man, and Stephen Dorff plays Richard's estranged, imprisoned brother Joey. Shannon does his best with the limited material, and Ryder gives a good performance as Richie's oblivious wife.
Regrettably, a thin, all too familiar script of standard mob stories that span over decades undermines all efforts. The movie never offers anything new that hasn't been seen before, and the finale just kind of happens without much of a buildup. Unfortunately, besides seeing just how many era-appropriate hairstyles and beards its characters can model in one movie, this telling of Richard's story seems to care more about the body count above all else.
Despite a good performance from Michael Shannon in the title role, and some entertaining scenes here and there, THE ICEMAN isn't really worth a recommendation. It's completely underdeveloped, a 2h 30min film screaming to get out of its 1h 45min run time, all topped off with uninspired, cliche crime dialogue.
So UPSET!! I have been dying for this movie to finally come out after I read the book some years ago. this movie was such a let down. left so much out and the stuff that was in was not even true or close to it. terribly disappointed. nothing like the book at all! will never understand why directors change from the book so much! decarlo should be turning in his grave for this disservice to him! I really wish that I did not see this movie at all! they even tried to make you feel sorry for the "Pollock!" I mean he was never sorry for anything he did, hence the name ICEMAN! grant it, maybe not everything that was in the book was true, but damn if they only followed half of the book it would have been a great movie! this movie seemed rushed, they skipped over so much and left out even more! if you read the book and you enjoyed the book, DO NOT go and see this movie then!!! you will be so disappointed as I am! what a crying shame!