A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
After India's father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
A standard biopic heightened only by Shannon's performance.
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 murder. "The Iceman" is based on a true story, and is a fairly standard biopic that is only elevated by a gripping performance from Michael Shannon. Shannon's commanding performance is the overall highlight of the film- as the actor effortlessly transforms his character into a consistently engaging and genuinely frightening figure. "The Iceman" exhibits an array of methods Kuklinski employs to commit murder from the '50s until his arrest in the mid '80s. However, his method of freezing his victims is all but passed over, barely even mentioned. A minor detail perhaps, lost in the story line due to the ever-growing body count. But when your protagonist is a deranged killer, and nicknamed "The Iceman," it's a significant element of the story all but ignored, which led to his eventual undoing.
In Ariel Vromen's "The Iceman," we first meet Kuklinski as a young man out on a date with a woman destined to become Mrs. Kuklinski (Winona Ryder). She is shy and naive, but ultimately won over by the man's charisma, devotion, and persistence. Incredibly, Richard was able to maintain a double life, never mixing his unwavering devotion to his family, and his work for the Mafia. Recruited by local Mafia boss Roy (Ray Liotta), Richard begins to make a name for himself as a hit-man for the mob. Our protagonist is an outsider however, a Polish American who can never be fully integrated into the Mafia. This is a character study of a man that you have seen before in a number of gangster films--the killer in black leather gloves, sporting a trench coat, and void of any emotion when committing murder. The litany of killings administered by Kuklinski is predominantly delivered via montages.
Kuklinski was an impenetrable individual, and Shannon does justice to the man with a suitably complex performance. Shannon does his best with the limited material, and Ryder is fine as Richie's oblivious wife. But their efforts are further undermined by the thin and very familiar, decades-spanning mob story. 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.
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