The Ice Harvest (2005) - Plot Summary Poster


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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.

  • 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.

  • Christmas Eve in Wichita; rain, sleet and ice. Vic, a pornographer, and Charlie, a shady attorney, have stolen two million dollars from their mob boss, and they need to appear calm for a few hours until their planned early morning departure. Vic, who's storing the money, is cool, but Charlie is nervous, especially when their boss's enforcer shows up looking for him. As the night drags on, Charlie does a favor for Renata, the lovely manager of one of the strip clubs, rescues his ex-wife's husband from a drunken public display, drops in on his ex-in-laws, sees his kids, and, between phone calls and visits to Renata, goes looking for Vic. Charlie's troubles are just beginning.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • On Christmas Eve in Wichita, Kansas. Charlie Arglist, (John Cusack) a mob lawyer, has just stolen a duffel bag full of money from his employer (Randy Quaid) with the help of Vincent "Vic" Cavanaugh (Billy Bob Thornton). All they have to do is act casually and unsuspiciously until they leave town. But an ice storm has blocked the roads, so Vic takes the money while Charlie spends the night visiting his client's strip clubs and evading suspicion. Early on, he meets up with Renata (Connie Nielsen), a strip club owner after whom he has secretly lusted. She hints at spending the night with him if he can produce a certain photo of a local politician's indiscretion for her to use as blackmail. Things begin to go sour when an enforcer for Charlie's boss comes looking for him and Vic. The body count mounts as the ice beneath Charlie's "perfect crime" begins to slowly crack.

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