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The Ice Harvest (2005)

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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.

Director:

Harold Ramis

Writers:

Richard Russo (screenplay), Robert Benton (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... Charlie Arglist
Billy Bob Thornton ... Vic Cavanaugh
Lara Phillips ... Rusti
Bill Noble Bill Noble ... Culligan
Brad Smith Brad Smith ... Ronny
Ned Bellamy ... Sidney
Connie Nielsen ... Renata Crest
Mike Starr ... Roy Gelles
T.J. Jagodowski T.J. Jagodowski ... Officer Tyler
Meghan Maureen McDonough ... Francie
Tab Baker Tab Baker ... Dennis
Frank Gallo Frank Gallo ... Restaurateur
William Dick ... Manager
Oliver Platt ... Pete Van Heuten
David Pasquesi ... Councilman Williams
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Thick Thieves. Thin Ice. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La cosecha de hielo See more »

Filming Locations:

Carpentersvillle, Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,740,799, 27 November 2005

Gross USA:

$8,819,059, 11 December 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tag line "As falls Wichita so falls Wichita Falls" is the title of a Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays album from 1981. See more »

Goofs

When Pete gets dragged out of the bar by the bartender's boyfriend, his pants get ripped in the back. In the subsequent shot, there is no tear. See more »

Quotes

Renata: [answers phone] Hello?
Charlie Arglist: Renata?
Renata: Charlie.
Charlie Arglist: Listen. You were right. Vic and I have been skimming.
Renata: Well, duh!
Charlie Arglist: I think Roy Gelles must have found out, and I think he might have killed Vic.
Renata: That's terrible!
Charlie Arglist: So I was thinking it might be best if I left town, and I was wondering if you wanted to come with me.
Renata: You have the money?
Charlie Arglist: What? Which?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Alternative Christmas Movies (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night
Written by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Performed by Charles Brown
Courtesy of Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
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User Reviews

 
The Art of Moodiness
6 January 2007 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

The Ice Harvest is attractive to two audiences, those being the film noir and/or crime fans and the people who think a movie with Cusack and Thornton directed by ex-Ghostbuster Ramis is going to be a mishap-riddled caper comedy. Unfortunately, this film's heart lies outside of the compatibility of either. It's technically not a crime film, because the story begins immediately as the crime ends, a $2 million embezzlement scheme that is never explained. Also, the film is certainly not a comedy within the ballpark of any other work by Harold Ramis. What Ramis has made is a film that is more of a dramatic exercise in cinematic mood and low-key atmosphere. The good news is that he pulls it off very well.

The Ice Harvest happens to be one of the movies I watch at Christmastime, because the film is actually so well-directed and so well-shot that it captures that constantly sought-after perfect cozy winter atmosphere on film. The events of the story occur over the course of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, all in the small and quiet town of Wichita, KA. No matter how much time it spends during the outlandish drunken bouts of Oliver Platt or the destructive tantrums of Ned Bellamy's overaggressive bartender, The Ice Harvest never breaks its meticulous feeling and image for one moment.

Even though it's not what is expected by the vast majority of those who have seen it or those who mean to, it does have impressionistic characteristics of those expectations that deliver sensationally, such as Thornton's tremendously entertaining time on screen and the thicket of distrust that ushers in over the course of the holidays succeeding his and Cusack's so-called perfect crime. However, these are purely part of the style rather than the substance. The plot is conjecture of film noir rather than the real deal, as most of the twists are nearly meant to be somewhat obvious or expected. Really, the essence of the story lies in Cusack's descent into complete detachment from any virtue in life, feeling as if he's only an observer when encountering darkly humorous yet brooding things over his Christmas.

The Ice Harvest is not really a comedy and not really a film noir. Actually, it bears no genre per se. Simply, it's a wonderful installment in the phantom subgenre of cinematic moodiness.


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