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|Index||22 reviews in total|
28 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
What genre movie is this? I'm not sure, but watch it for the acting, 18 December 2011
Author: richard-1967 from United States
This is a flawed but still watchable film that seems to steal
characters and plot from the Coen Brothers' Fargo, yet manages to
succeed. At least to an extent.
The problem may be - as we were told at our cinema previewing club - that the director lost final cut here, and found herself with a movie she no longer can even comment on, with 15 minutes cut, the film re-edited, and a score she never intended - and one that doesn't work well.
The result is a somewhat uneven, too dark black comedy. Or is it a drama? Or perhaps a "caper" movie? I'm not quite sure.
When it comes to the acting, though, this is a great film. Greg Kinnear plays a character too reminiscent of Wm. H. Macy's turn in Fargo, but he makes the most of it, though - team player that he is - he's outshone by more spectacular performances. Alan Arkin, for one, who also did it to Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine. But the "steal the show" performance is by Billy Crudup, always sexy (my wife says he's "hot") and interesting to watch, and here at his very best. Bob Balaban is spot on as a violin dealer, and the rest of the cast is excellent.
Worth seeing for many, but mostly for those performances.
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
A Great Con Movie - Done Midwestern Style, 26 January 2011
Author: sundevil27 from Salt Lake City, UT USA
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The swindle, the bamboozle, the big Con. A favorite subject for
filmmakers for nearly a century now. The game is basically always the
same, but the players are what makes for a great con movie. "Thin Ice"
(previously titled at Sundance 2011 as "The Convincer") goes
white-collar crime, the legal kind, just look in your phone book and
you might find your own convincer, the local Insurance salesman.
"Thin Ice" directed by Jill Sprecher, is Sprecher's return to feature films after her well received "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing". Alan Arkin, returns to team up again with Sprecher and is joined on screen with "Little Miss Sunshine" cohort Greg Kinnear to create a thoroughly enjoyable tale of Midwestern simplicity and the everyday Con man with a silver tongue. An old man with an unfathomably rare violin crosses paths with an insurance salesman at the end of his rope, what unfolds across the frozen terrain of Wisconsin is a wonderful bit of storytelling The film has a solid cast of players, alongside Kinnear and Arkin, Billy Cudrup has a solid little role. David Harbour delivers a gem of a performance and the fantastic Bob Balaban is always a welcome addition to any movie.
Much of the effectiveness of the movie, which could easily have been a rehash of all the movies before it, is in its Midwestern point of view and ability take your average insurance man and peel away the layers to observe how the art of lying creates a life of constant deceit that will eventually take it's toll. Mickey the insurance man(Kinnear) trolls 24/7 for a mark to give his sales pitch, but when he crosses paths with the simple farmer Gorvy the amount of deceit he will need to get the big payday pushes him to cross even lines he never dreamt of going.
A unusual relationship forms between the insurance man and the farmer, as Mickey is forced into a role of caregiver as he circles the rare violin in hopes of selling it for big money. "Thin Ice" unfolds through these series of encounters between Mickey and Gorvey and tension builds at a detailed pace towards Mickey's eventual ultimate deceit. Mickey's life is falling apart around him, ultimately their is no back-up plan, at any and all costs his existence is tied to the old man and the violin.
The film maintains a steady pace, each detail is thoroughly absorbed and clearly never losing sight that its all building up to, not if, but when Mickey will cross the line from white-collar liar to criminal. Although "Thin Ice" is a fascinating take on the relationship between a simple Midwest farmer and convincing insurance man, it is foremost a story of the consequences of lying and when those lies will come back to haunt you.
Thus the story takes a dramatic turn as Mickey unwillingly teams with a local ex-convict locksmith(Billy Cudrup) to break into Gorvy's home to get his prize violin. Things don't go at all as planned and soon Mickey is dealing with a whole nother type of crime. The killing kind. What unfolds through the second half of the movie is a masterful touch of high tension and bumbling amateur criminal misbehaving.
Though the film will undoubtedly be compared to a few other con movies, Fargo comes to mind though that's primarily just scenery correlation, "Thin Ice" is very much original. The strength of this film is the wonderfully acted script that is sharp and nearly without flaw. The movie could not have had better pieces then Kinnear and Arkin who are brilliantly matched and thoughtfully reminiscent of their real life counterparts.
This thoroughly engaging and captivating little tale works from beginning to end. If one were to focus on possible weaknesses it would only be that true to it's Midwestern stylings its not overly flashy Nor particularly gritty compared to slicker studio productions. That being said "Thin Ice" is completely its own film and gives very little to dislike.
11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
not good enough.., 24 February 2012
Author: www.ramascreen.com from United States
Great performances, average movie, that's basically what you can take away from THIN ICE, which wants to be taken seriously as a Midwestern con flick with a bit of Coens' Fargo feel to it but the way it reveals itself at the end is so abrupt and hasty, it jams itself down the audience's throat and it doesn't care whether or not the audience is fully prepared for it just yet. Interesting concept, a con film through the eyes of the marked man, but interesting at best is what this film would have to settle for
Greg Kinnear is a fantastic actor, I think I find myself saying that about all of his previous performances. There are certain occupations out there that are not liked by general public, lawyers and insurance agents are examples, and Kinnear plays an agent who's also a compulsive liar and he sees a golden opportunity that could be used to his advantage. The story is basically told through his perspective, his character, Mickey, is not necessarily a protagonist but then again, the story doesn't actually have a protagonist to root for, because even the ones that get away with the prize don't grant themselves something likable, and because Micky finds himself digging deeper and deeper into problems with every unwise choice he makes, part of you would feel a bit sorry for the fella. As I said earlier, THIN ICE sorta takes style from Coen Bros' crime drama/thriller/comedy, even Mickey reminds me of Michael Stuhlbarg's character in A Serious Man, situations for them just worsen, no matter what they do, there'd be times when they think they've got it all figured out but they actually don't.
One credit I'd give THIN ICE is that unless somebody tells you that it's a con film, you probably wouldn't have guessed it from the get-go but halfway trough the film, you can kinda start sensing something's off and start piecing it together. I'm a tropical boy, so I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must've been for Arkin, Kinnear, and Crudup to be out there in dead winter, I'd freeze my ass off and wouldn't be able to say my lines correctly. I think the film was poorly edited and it could've used a more chilling score. Crudup is a treat to watch here because his character is unpredictable, unstable, psycho scary and because of that he also comes off funny, I've never seen Crudup this way on screen and so to see him do it so well, is refreshing, definitely not an actor you'd underestimate. Perhaps if the writers, the Sprechers, where to give Mickey more depth, thus allowing Kinnear to showcase more. That would certainly compensate for everything else that's lackluster about THIN ICE.
-- www.Ramascreen.com --
15 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
An incoherent mess., 31 May 2012
Author: Mitch_Rockwell from United States
Thin Ice went through a pretty rough time in order to finally get to
the big screen. I was going to call it Jill Sprecher's Thin Ice, but
that wouldn't be entirely accurate. Sprecher wrote the film, along with
Karen Sprecher, and titled it The Convincer. She wrote it, shot it with
a great cast including Greg Kinnear, Billy Crudup and Alan Arkin, and
did all of her fine work to get it to Sundance. Then the studio grabbed
the film, cut off half an hour of it while also changing major plot
details of it, cutting out entire characters and apparently even doing
reshoots. Sprecher went as far as trying to get her name removed from
the film, but due to her contract she was unable to.
If you ever have the misfortune of watching Thin Ice, you can only sit and imagine what the film could have been had it been left in it's original form (although apparently The Convincer will strangely be available to watch on the Blu-Ray release of the film, so I will check that out when it's released). As it stands, Thin Ice is a bizarre comedic crime thriller that throws itself all over the place and then brings itself back together in one of the laziest, most borderline offensive final acts I've seen in a while.
Do you love those films where the character speaks directly to the audience and explains everything that happened the entire film? Where you spend the whole film having the wool pulled over your eyes and then the main character tells you all about it in the final fifteen minutes, in a montage sequence of unraveling the threads? Well, if you do then Thin Ice is the film or you. If you don't, you should avoid it completely, as it's a wildly incoherent and frustrating journey that just gets outrageously painful in the end.
I saw some kind reviews of the film (this version of it) that likened it to directors such as Hitchock and the Coen Brothers and I have to say that those critics must have been high off of whatever the studio who chopped this film up were on. The cast does what they can, particularly the riotously funny Billy Crudup, but this was dead in the water the moment they started to chop up Sprecher's vision. Do yourself a favor and wait to see what her original version of the film looked like when the Blu-Ray releases. That's what I wish I had done.
11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
cop out ending, 15 March 2012
Author: TheGOLDENWALRUS from United States
Very similar to Fargo we have Thin Ice. A cocky convincing insurance
agent (Kinnear) thinks he's found his answer to all his problems when
he finds out that after making a sale with a senile, lonely, old man
(Arkin) that the old man has a violin worth thousands. Everything goes
to plan to steal the violin until he meets a locksmith.
So here's the thing. We have an engaging thriller. Each scene does an excellent job escalating keep you biting your fingernails. You don't think anything could get worst but it always seems to. In fact it's very awkward and nerve racking.
Kinnear does an excellent job playing a sleazy salesman where at times literally steals and manipulate his clients. He's ahead of the game and for some reason we root for him. (Not sure about the unnecessary voice over) Arkin does an excellent job as the lovable elder man whom seems to only have a few years left in the tank. And then there is Billy Crudup, the crazy psychotic locksmith.
I got to tell you I loved this film. Well that is until the last ten minutes which not only left my jaw drop in disgust but also to many critics. It completely ruins the great performances and tone of the film. In fact, I hated the ending.
But all in all it was a good ride for a while.
My rating: 5.75/10 or C+
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
loads of late twists help this slightly above average fargo-esque flick, 14 July 2012
Author: witster18 from United States
"Thin Ice", much like Fargo, is a murder-story set in a
snowy-midwestern town. The lead character is an immoral salesmen who's
life is literally falling apart around him.
The good news is that "Thin Ice" provides the audience with an even-more-twisty-tale. The performances are steady across the board. Now, I'm not saying this is as good or better than Fargo, IT'S NOT! But, it's a good movie.
The twists in the last 30 minutes are hefty and hard to scrutinize. There are a few aspects of the plot that were a little predictable, but for the most part the twists in the end were well-concealed and somewhat believable.
The film moves fairly slow, but never came off to me as boring. It doesn't really have any style to speak of, and the other director elements are nothing special. Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, and Billy Crudip do a fine job with an average script that is completely void of comedic moments(style and comedy were two of Fargo's strengths).
The plot twists in the last third of the film DO set this one apart, and while the film DOES lack style and comedy, the acting helps keep it afloat.
I'd say this deserves a bit higher ranking than it's current 6.1 here, but it also isn't something that you should feel the need to move up to the top of your list.
A Coen Brothers story without some of the Coen Bro's trademarks.
I'm stuck between 6 and 7 here at 65/100, but rounding up and taking into consideration the low 6.1 score.
You might like this if you liked: American Gun(not as good), Fargo(better), Burn After Reading(about even), and Millions(not as good).
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Ending ruined a great film, 29 February 2012
Author: arcadiafan from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't believe all the butter up tossed into the laps of the Sprecher sisters when they told critics more than 20 minutes of this film was re edited without their approval. Greg Kinnear is great as an insurance salesman pulled into a scheme to steal farmer Alan Arbus's violin worth 25,000 dollars only to have locksmith Billy Crudup murder the neighbor and blackmail Kinnear into helping him cover up the crime. The snowy streets, ice ponds and backwood bars provided a suspenseful atmosphere to this noir comedy/drama until just 90 minutes in a cheery narrative tells us the farmer staged the whole thing, a management office paid him to do it, etc. It just got me lost it was so long and talky. Like Roger Ebert noted, it was a great drama unfolding in the real and unplanned sense until the hokey voice over arrived. The Sprechers seem to have liked their characters so much they could not give them a negative resolution or denouement of any kind. It seems dad was selling insurance and maybe he wouldn't sign a life story release or they just couldn't hurt his feelings. I kept thinking "Push Billy Crudup into the ice pond, you idiot. Make up your mind about something." Unfinished film project rates a D plus.
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good movie, great acting, 21 July 2012
Author: johnsullivan724 from United States
It takes some time to get going, granted, but when it does it's good, real good. Greg Kinnear is fantastic as is Billy Crudup and Alan Arkin. It pulls you into it's eerie intensity and takes you on a bit of a ride, sometimes comical. This is listed as a comedy??? Somewhat, but more a crime drama with some comedy. I actually felt real uncomfortable with the tension created in this film and how it develops is really cool. btw -I know it was edited from the original version of "The Convincer" and people who seem close to, or fans of, the Sprecher's, knock it pretty bad. Understandably, I guess in a way , but for most of us seeing it in the newer edit, like I said it's a good movie. Jus' sayin'.
If you're patient, it's a really good film with great acting, 11 March 2013
Author: Andy Smith from San Diego CA
Mickey, Mickey...what a prick you are! Greg Kinnear is fantastic in
this film. He makes you practically hate this guy Mickey but plays the
character so well that you actually feel bad for him as things develop.
Billy Crudup is superb as well as the great Alan Arkin and Lea
Thompson. Wish her character could have been developed more.
The way this movie progresses it's in such a away there's two levels of patience required to fully enjoy it. This cast is incredible, actors actors. Granted, rumors have pointed towards this film being cut by twenty minutes from the original writer/director cut and these minutes carried character and story development, I'm sure. Either way the performances and hanging in there to watch the whole thing, it's worth it. With all the below average movies out there, this one was really good.
Far from flawless, an interesting crime caper involving the insurance industry., 2 January 2013
Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sisters who wrote and directed this movie know their subject. They
are from Wisconsin, and their father works in the insurance business.
This movie is set in Wisconsin and centers upon a man in insurance,
albeit I'm sure far removed from their father.
Greg Kinnear really is perfect as the slick Mickey Prohaska, versed in the ways of starting up a conversation to sell insurance, but with a debilitating affliction, he is a serial and habitual liar. He smiles and tells one lie after another, as if that's just the way the world works. Problem is after a while everyone who knows him no longer trusts him.
Now, as the movie gets going in the frozen north, and Mickey's schemes start to unravel, with the violin music in the soundtrack sounding strangely familiar, very reminiscent of "Fargo", I really started to feel I was watching a different version of "Fargo", with a little "A Simple Plan" thrown in. Mickey Prohaska could have been the fraternal twin of William H. Macy's Jerry Lundegaard, just working in a different industry. And that feeling lasts through most of the movie, as the trouble gets deeper and deeper for Mickey, until near the end we find out that almost nothing is as it appears to be.
David Harbour is really good as the new insurance agent, Bob Egan. But the veteran Alan Arkin brings a special life to the elderly immigrant Gorvy Hauer. Lea Thompson is good as always, as Mickey's somewhat estranged wife Jo Ann Prohaska. Bob Balaban is his usual competent self as antique violin dealer Leonard Dahl. But Billy Crudup shows again why he is one of the better, if under-appreciated, actors today, as Randy the locksmith and alarm system installer who goes completely crazy towards Mickey as debts rise and police get closer.
In all it is mainly a very dark comedy, and a lesson, even if fictional, in the pitfalls of trying to lie yourself through life and relationships. I enjoyed it, the story held my attention all the way.
SPOILERS FOLLOW: As the story develops it appears to be a simple case of Mickey seeing his way out of debt by conning the old man out of his old violin that eventually is appraised at $1.25Million. But his con goes horribly wrong when Randy has to apparently kill a witness, then he and Mickey apparently dispose of the body in ice covering a frozen lake. But it was all a calculated ruse, the old man, the witness, the other insurance salesman, and Randy were not who they said they were, the whole ruse was to get $1.25Million for a cheap violin by processing an insurance claim after it disappeared. Mickey was caught with his pants down, left the frozen north and, as the movie ends, was trying again in the warm south.
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