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Iceman
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Reviews & Ratings for
Iceman More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Warming sci-fi

7/10
Author: paul2001sw-1 (paul2001sw@yahoo.co.uk) from Saffron Walden, UK
11 May 2003

Unusually intelligent sci-fi, about a group of polar researchers who discover a hibernating (and slightly too human-looking) Neanderthal. The scientists (predictably) just want to cut him up, but Tim Hutton plays the lone anthropologist who befriends him and teaches him how to sing along to Neil Young. At times the film (pre-CGI) seems dated in appearance, but its strength is not to underestimate the difference between the Neanderthal's world and our own, nor his capacity to deal with it. Good to see a sci-fi film that for once is more interested in substance than surface.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

a drastically underrated movie

7/10
Author: Mutakk from Tampa FL
20 November 2007

People think Timothy Hutton didn't do any good movies after winning the Oscar for Ordinary People, but that's not true. Among other really good movies he's done are Q&A, Taps, Falcon & The Snowman, French Kiss, and Iceman, which is way better than you'd think it would be, considering the plot is so much like Encino Man. Scintists dig up a Neanderthal and thaw him out. Some want to study him, and one (Hutton, in a good performance) just wants to communicate with him. Most of the actors are good (Danny Glover has a small role) and the script isn't stupid. The Iceman comes off as a real person, not just a furry guy with a club. Like Quest For Fire, the guy is played as a primitive person, not just an ape.

The Iceman is played by John Lone (the bad guy in Year of the Dragon and the star of The Last Emperor), He almost unrecognizable under all the makeup, but his performance is right on the money, A lot of his acting is through body language, and its really good. He conveys many emotions with subtle and unsubtle movements. Again, this is underrated movie, and Mr. Lone should have gotten an Oscar of his own for his performance.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Powerful thinking-man's science fiction film, from an era when the genre was obsessed with laser guns and alien invaders.

7/10
Author: Jonathon Dabell (barnaby.rudge@hotmail.co.uk) from Todmorden, England
23 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Iceman was released in 1984 and is quite unusual for its time in that it is a sci-fi story with no laser guns, spaceships, or malevolent aliens. It is slightly similar to E.T. on a thematic level, though plotwise it is very different. The concept of a strange being trying to adapt and survive in a world totally removed from what he is used to, hasn't been used very often in the movies - E.T., Iceman, and the awful Mac And Me are probably the only examples from the 80s that anyone has ever heard of - but it's an idea that has a lot going for it. In fact, films like Iceman almost belong within a sub-genre all of their own - the "humanist sci-fi fable".

Arctic explorers discover a perfectly preserved Neanderthal man encased in ice. They take him to a scientific research station where they thaw him out. Amazingly, the iceman's vital organs have remained in a state of hibernation during his 40,000 years in the ice, and soon he awakens. The scientists believe they have found a unique specimen - a being who they can use to develop their understanding of cryogenics and how to freeze terminally ill people until a cure for their condition is found - but one scientist, Shephard (Timothy Hutton), fears that they are overlooking the fact that the iceman is a human. He befriends the Neanderthal, named Charlie (as one of his primal roars sounds similar to the word Charlie). Soon, Shephard realises that Charlie is unable to understand that he has been asleep for thousands of years and is still trying to find his family, his tribespeople, as well as completing a mythical quest he began 40,000 years ago. Shephard is appalled at the way Charlie is exploited for research purposes, and ponders whether to release him into the Arctic wilderness to lead the life he was accustomed to all those centuries ago.

Iceman tells a slow-burning story, but it is a rewarding story for those who stick with it. Hutton gives a credible performance as the lone scientist prepared to forsake the scientific value of his remarkable discovery, but the performance that everyone will come away from the film remembering most vividly is that of John Lone. Lone's interpretation of the Neanderthal is haunting and authentic - surely the most shameful example ever of Hollywood overlooking an Oscar-worthy piece of acting. Fred Schepisi directs in a clever low-key manner, avoiding the temptation to make his film a soppy commercial popcorn flick and concentrating on the ethical and human dilemmas within the story. Iceman is a very powerful film, and in some ways it's an important one too. Ignore the laser-brainers who dismiss this film as boring - it might not be your cup of tea, but it's NEVER boring - and give it a try.

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

An unforgettable journey of humanity

9/10
Author: Dana Wang from Taipei, Taiwan
4 November 1999

While a group of scientists were working in the Arctic they found a man frozen in the ice. Dr. Stanley Shephard (Timothy Hutton) identified the primitive as a Neanderthal who was probably 40000 years old.

Neanderthals were supposed to be located in Europe. So how could one be found in North America? However, despite all the possible scientific errors, "Iceman" is still a masterpiece. This film is about the issue of immortality- we could deal with the same problems that the iceman did - if freezing sick people and unfreezing them when there are new ways to cure become possible in the future. Is everybody supposed to live forever? Or if some of us, the ill ones, would be healed decades or even centuries later, we may not be used to the new world, new things around us, and our loved ones may already died. It may cause psychological trauma and...the shock would be unimaginable. I think Shephard was right, death is natural and we should face it.

In the movie, only Shephard was willing to treat the iceman (John Lone) as a human, not as an object to be used in some scientific experiment. Shephard tried very hard to communicate with the iceman and getting to know him as a person. This became a touching and educational journey for everyone involved.

John Lone's mesmorizing performance as "Charlie" the iceman who intended to sacrifice himself in order to save his family, has profoundly moved me. He's really a splendid actor. And I must say this film is definitely worth seeing more than once.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

All but a case of massive generation gap

8/10
Author: koustubh bhattacharya from India
22 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Man has always been curious about his origins and since the days of Darwin much effort have been done in tracing back the evolution of mankind to the final link where we as animals became self conscious and began advancing rapidly in terms of how much we have modified our macro biosphere in such short span of our existence.

This movie is definitive in putting the viewers in a situation where we find that we have made it extremely difficult to see things in its simple state and rather complicate it with all our cynicism and rationality. Being modern humans we like to believe that as we have gained more cranial volumes, have become more intelligent but fail miserably in explaining and bridging the differences of a few thousand years. The sense that Shepherd starts to develop in spite of all his efforts that Charlie the caveman would never actually be able to adapt to this world is the realization that the film portrays.

We find that with all our modern methods and abilities Shepherd does starts communicating to Charlie though in a vague way but still the actual situation could never be properly conveyed to Charlie. It's a classic example of generation gap where the newer generation wants to learn but fails to explain itself to older generation and the older generation is just afraid of the change. Moreover the surgical team is so mechanical that they just want to cut him up for analysis. They don't even consider Charlie a human but a relic, a living fossil.

This film has taken much care in addressing the topic as it is quite believable movie for such an impossible plot. It could have turned out as a jerky and plastic movie if it was not treated well on scientific and performance aspects. I don't know how many people have watched this movie but I must say it is pretty engrossing. The portrayal of a confused, depressed and angry caveman in modern world by John lone is very convincing and touching as well. This can rank among some of the best sci-fi movies of its era.

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17 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Cult Movies 8

10/10
Author: Carlos Xavier from Australia
6 November 1998

8. ICEMAN (drama, 1984): A team of arctic-research scientists uncover the body of a Neanderthal man frozen in a slab of ice. He is brought to life by Dr. Brady (Lindsay Crouse). The Iceman (John Lone) is placed in an enclosed artificial wilderness housing. Dr. Shepard (Timothy Hutton) is brought in to study the man. However, he goes one stop further by making face to face contact. With the help of Diane, their struggle to identify with the Iceman becomes a personal, and moving experience.

Critique: A visual as well as a 'sound' delight, Iceman is a touching film that brings the 'environmentalist' in all of us. It is that rare film lore which feeds our emotions and our intellectual curiosity.

Australian director Fred Schepsi provides the lush, snow-covered landscapes with a rich musical tapestry to reside on. Schepsi makes us feel close to the Iceman by placing him in the position of stranger (which is where we, as audience, also are), and surveyor of truth. Although it has the same plot overtones of a Frankenstein's monster(should a creation be exploited), it does sway from this by giving us an insight into the Iceman's past.

Actor John Lone's debut as the Iceman is wholly potent, as a rendition of our 'shadow side'. While Lindsay Crouse for once plays a sensitive scientist. The best moment of the film comes when the Iceman, at last happy, plummets through the Arctic air and comes full circle in his quest. With the film's beautiful soundtrack guiding him.

Quotes: Iceman: "Pita!"

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

One of the great "science fiction" movies of the 1980s.

8/10
Author: rayb610 from United States
17 November 2009

It's sad to read some of the "summaries" and comments here about "Iceman." Some people dismiss 1980s movies outright, and think the usually overblown, CGI dominated "science fiction" movies of the 21st century are better!?! That makes me laugh. "Iceman" is a fine, understated, thought-provoking (ooh, that might injure some viewers) movie of the first order, no matter the genre.

I like the previous comment about John Lone being unjustifiably denied an Oscar nomination for that year (1983) -- he should have not only been nominated as best supporting actor, he should have won. And I thought so at the time. (The winner was Jack Nicholson for his supporting role in "Terms of Endearment," a pleasant if lightweight performance for him.) The original screenplay; the excellent, evocative soundtrack by Bruce Smeaton, and perhaps even director Fred Schepisi should also have been nominated, though I can understand the votes for the winners in those categories.

Those who think this character is a "Neanderthal" have a problem with anthropological/archaeological logic. He is a migrating human ancestor from 40,000 years ago, primitive but quick to learn and ingenious -- yet very different from those who would be his modern descendants (though with traditional links), let alone those of us whose ancestors MUCH later migrated to North America. He led a very hard life before he was frozen and has a much different belief system.

As for the ending: Those who don't get it seem to lack a true sense of wonder and mystery ... or are more than a little dense.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"I who have died shall live..."

8/10
Author: drmality-1 (drmality@sbcglobal.net) from Illinoize
8 October 2007

What you think of "Iceman" depends on your general nature. If you are sentimental and deeply moved by stories of great emotion, you'll love it. If you are hard-edged, cynical and opposed to the least bit of softening in life, you'll think it crass. I know what side of the fence I'm on. I loved the movie and was moved to tears the first time I saw it. It still moves me all these years later.

In the high arctic, the remains of a Neanderthal hunter are found perfectly preserved in ice. To the astonishment of the scientists who handle the remains, the capacity for life still lingers in the body. They return the frozen primitive to life in the 20th century...at least 20,000 years after his "death". The revival of "Charlie" sparks a multitude of moral dilemmas for the scientists. Earnest young anthropologist Shepherd wants to know Charlie as a man and bonds with the primitive. Other scientists want to use the special properties of Charlie's blood to preserve human life...a good goal, but they look at him as a specimen.

When Charlie escapes from the special environment prepared for him, havoc ensues, leading to a powerful ending where he tries to complete the quest he started tens of thousands of years ago.

The tale is simple and heartfelt. John Lone gives an astonishing performance as Charlie. His physical movements and primitive vocalizations completely bring to life a man from the dawn of time. Yet we also sense moments of sadness, anger, humor and family pride from him. Thanks to the Academy's snubbing of fantasy/SF films, which would not be erased until the massive success of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy years later, Lone's Oscar-worthy performance was ignored. You will be amazed by the humanity he brings to the role. Timothy Hutton is earnest and sincere as the moral but naive scientist who tries his best to help his Neanderthal friend.

The movie is not perfect...some of the scientific jargon is overdone and I was incredibly annoyed by James Tolkan's constant gum-chewing...but it succeeds in matters of the heart. The ending is sad yet triumphant. If you think about the situation, it was the best possible ending for Charlie given the circumstances.

Anyone with a heart and a sense of wonder should enjoy "Iceman".

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A One Lone Show

7/10
Author: dallasryan from United States
3 November 2012

This is what I love about Movies back in the 80's and 90's, and really just older movies in general, you can see the difference. The difference is they didn't have the technology to make what they do today, which in actuality is usually too much! Therefore though, that's what people like, so that's what you get nowadays, tons of special effects with the same type of action, CGI, with little or no story. The older movies had better stories and were more clever about their action and special effects, and actually I preferred the not so fancy special effects, in my opinion, it kind of ruins a movie nowadays it seems because it's just too much CGI and too much action.

So with Iceman, this is a very thought driven movie. Lot's of crazy ideas/concepts being thrown out there. I'm not sure how John Lone didn't get nominated for any kind of awards here(I mean he's even academy award nomination worthy here as his portrayal as the Neandrathal Man).

It's truly a brilliant performance by Lone, and probably one of the best portrayals I've ever watched in a film of an actor playing a Neandrathal Man. Iceman is really worth a look just for John Lone's performance, it's a brilliant performance to watch. John Lone is an excellent actor, you won't even be able to believe that this is the same guy/actor from The Last Emperor.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Hutton you did it again

Author: anonymous from Plainsboro, NJ
27 July 1999

I really did like this movie. The reason for it is because Timothy Hutton(Shephard) acted so good in this movie that it makes you just want to watch it. In my opinion He is one of the best actors of century and when there is a movie that comes out where he is playing it just forces me to see it. Like the character that he played in this movie. He was a scientist who wanted to help the Iceman. It showed how much he actually cared and wanted happiness for the Iceman. See this movie, you'll like it.

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