In the 1960s, Richard Kuklinski is working as a porn film lab tech until his mob bosses persuade him to change his career into that of a contract killer. For years, Kuklinski gains a reputation for cold blooded professionalism even as he raises a family who are kept in the dark about his true career. Unfortunately, mob politics ultimately forces him to secretly work independently with the psychopathic Robert 'Mr. Freezy' Pronge. As much as Kuklinski tries to keep his lives separate, circumstances and his own weaknesses threaten a terrible collision as the consequences of his choices finally catch up to him. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Before production began, director Ariel Vromen shot a test scene with Michael Shannon as Richard Kuklinski and Michael Wincott as Robert Pronge. Shannon kept his role in the feature version, while Chris Evans was cast as Robert Pronge because Vromen wanted someone younger for that part. The director offered Wincott another role, but the actor wasn't happy with it and amicably refused. See more »
The paper with the "Iceman" headline that Mr. Freezy hands to Kuklinski has a story about Roy Demeo's body being found in the trunk of his car, though he is not yet dead in the movie and in fact Kuklinski and Mr. Freezy are discussing putting a hit on him in that scene. See more »
Mr. Kuklinski, do you have any regrets about the things you've done?
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Difficult to emotionally invest in but wickedly entertaining.
With 2011's Take Shelter, Michael Shannon is proving to be a fascinating leading man. Just through his presence, he can convey that unstable line between sanity and insanity and bad and good. You can just tell his inner conflict is going to explode at boiling point. It's unfortunate that while Shannon certainly transforms into the 'iceman,' The Iceman's script doesn't call for much of his range. Instead, it's a moody gangster film that revels in the moments where it can step just beyond the clichés while still pressing all the standard buttons. It's interesting in these kinds of scenes where a mob boss forces an associate to give to a homeless person or Shannon lets James Franco's cameo pray to God just to see what happens. It's a well-acted film, particularly Winona Ryder standing out in the supporting cast and it's very slickly made. But the fundamental problem with the film is its rhythm. The editing is constantly hectic even at the smallest things. There's no natural fluctuations that give emotional moments gravitas or action moments excitement. It does end up fatiguing and it lessens the sense of journey and change. Nevertheless, it's still a wickedly entertaining thrill ride to the end, just blunt at its edges.
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