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The Ice Harvest (2005)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  23 November 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 20,264 users   Metascore: 62/100
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A shady lawyer attempts a Christmas Eve crime, hoping to swindle the local mob out of some money. But his partner, a strip club owner, might have different plans for the cash.



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Larceny, lust and lethal behavior. In icebound Wichita, Kansas, it's Christmas Eve, and this year Charlie Arglist just might have something to celebrate. Charlie, an attorney for the sleazy businesses of Wichita, and his unsavory associate, the steely Vic Cavanaugh have just successfully embezzled $2 million from Kansas City boss Bill Guerrard. But the real prize for Charlie is the stunning Renata, who runs the Sweet Cage strip club. Charlie hopes to slip out of town with Renata. But as daylight fades and an ice storm whirls, everyone from Charlie's drinking buddy Pete Van Heuten to the local police begin to wonder just what exactly is in Charlie's Christmas stocking - and the 12 hours of Christmas Eve are filled with surprises. Written by focus features

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Thick Thieves. Thin Ice. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

23 November 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La cosecha de hielo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,740,799 (USA) (25 November 2005)


$8,819,059 (USA) (9 December 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Cusack's character's last name, Arglist, translates to "guile" or "deceitfulness" in German. See more »


When they go to load the body in the back of the Mercedes its an obvious dummy, as seen by how it flops around lightly after being thrown in there. See more »


Charlie Arglist: Did I ever tell you my father was a twin?
Pete Van Heuten: Identical?
Charlie Arglist: Fraternal. Looked a lot alike, though, him and my uncle. Different temperaments completely. My father, he's a cop. By-the-book guy. Believed in the law, wanted his only son to be a lawyer. Drank in moderation, didn't smoke. Kept up his life insurance premiums. Voted in every election, not just for president.
Pete Van Heuten: Lemme guess, uncle didn't vote?
Charlie Arglist: He said he didn't want to encourage the bastards. In and out of jail from the time he was 16... drunk ...
See more »


Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »


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Performed by Tony Kinsey
Courtesy of FirstCom Music, Inc., a division of Zomba Enterprises
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User Reviews

Icy-cold humor, warmly recommended
29 January 2006 | by (the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids) – See all my reviews

When the name Harold Ramis is mentioned, a lot of people will probably say "Harold who?". When explained to those people that he directed the wonderful romantic comedy GROUNDHOG DAY and wrote the screenplays for GHOSTBUSTERS I & II, they'll probably say "Oooh, that Harold!". After the redundant De Niro-wrecks ANALYZE THIS & THAT it got a little quiet around Ramis. Now he's back with THE ICE HARVEST, a movie that somewhat differs from his other work. It's been a while since I've seen such a successful mixture of black comedy and film-noir/thriller.

Charlie (John Cusack), a Kansas attorney on the verge of a burn-out, and his associate Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) have just stolen 2 million $ from their boss on Christmas Eve. They're planning on leaving that same night to enjoy their money elsewhere. Charlie also is in love with the beautiful stripclub-owner Renata and hopes that his newly earned dollars will make a fine argument to persuade her to go with him. But an upcoming ice storm makes it very difficult to leave the town immediately. On top of that, a mysterious figure has arrived in Wichita informing all over the place about Charlie. It will turn out to be a night full of surprises where everyone seems to be playing dark and deceiving games.

This movie relies on the statement "Money is the root of all evil". It's slightly disturbing to see how far one will go when a considerable amount of money is involved. Maybe not all of the twists and turns in the plot are unpredictable, but there are enough of them to keep it interesting, all this at a fairly high pace. They provide enough enjoyable moments, with the trunk-scene as one of the highlights. This particular scene leads to a funny discussion between Charlie and Vic about a Mercedes and a Lincoln. All this in order to say that the script and dialogues are more than decent.

Cusack and Thornton deliver the goods, never over-acting it. Besides them there's also a striking performance by Connie Nielsen as femme-fatale Renata and I never thought that a completely drunk Oliver Platt, as Charlie's drinking buddy, could be so hilarious. And it was nice to see Mike Starr and Randy Quaid in some smaller roles. So the complete cast pulls it off quite good.

Maybe THE ICE HARVEST (with the appropriate tagline "Thick Thieves. Thin Ice.", by the way) isn't a movie for a wide audience, because of the grim & black humor and the occasional pretty violent outbursts. But it sure is a welcome alternative for mainstream movies and highly recommended for film-noir-fans.

30 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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It was not even filmed in Wichita. katzeisking
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