The Iceman (Crime, Biography, Drama, Thriller 2012) (15) D: Ariel Vormen: W: Morgan Land (screenplay), Anthohny Bruno (book): C: Michael Shannon, Winoa Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans 1h 46m. USA.
TAGLINE : Loving husband. Devoted father. Ruthless killer.
Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.
Luke warm and sentimental melodrama of a heartless serial killer Richard Kuklinski. The original story of this ruthless mob based killer could write the most chilling and gritty crime film by simply details a disturbing childhood, and the various stone cold assassinations he preformed during the four decades that he killed over 100 people in many grisly ways. Unfortunately film encapsulates a mushy warm non eventful drama version in which Kuklinski emerges as a compulsive murderer who’s pussy whipped by the mob but takes on the role of their very own terminator to fulfill his need to kill.
Michael Shannon gives a solid performance in a character that is only similar to w Kiklinski, this doesn’t develop or grow as the movie plods through the timeline missing out most gruesome details.
Starting out not with the traumatic childhood but instead the life of Kuklinski as a quiet mild mannered decent guy, falling in love with Deborah (Winona Ryder) later to become his wife and mother of his two daughters. He keeps his psychotic dealings from her while his violent streak sparks interest in the mob namely wise guy Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta) who gets Kuklinski into the distribution of porn movies for him then doubling up his wages through hit jobs. Soon he is out whacking people in partnership with Robert Pronge (Chris Evans) who is the tutor showing him how to freeze bodies and dispose of them later so the cops can’t determine the time of death.
There are various déjà vu scenes throughout detailing hints of a troubling childhood, possibly pointing blame in that direction. The odd change in haircut and clothing gives a hit of the times but there isn’t really any attention to details in this, no bother to link it with other historical events. The brutal slayings, family drama, mob bravado and dirty night clubs is a reminder of Goodfellas (1990 ) but without the depth in the characters, wit, or catchy soundtrack and it has no hint of the black comedy of other gangster style movies.
Great attention is paid to Kuklinski’s character throughout, after all this is a movie about him, but the sinister nature of the iceman is translated into a the many stony faces Shannon, not giving much emotion or depth when dealing with killings or his family, makes the film stagnant. There is a lot more going on with the mob politics which is important but the interesting aspects about Kuklinski lie more within the beast inside the man, He kills people, a lot of people but there are only a few scattered death scenes, a montage or two would have been fierce, instead we are presented with an opaque peep into what we already know. If there is a movie to be made of this real life devil then it will deal with coarse details of the murders, and what happened outside of his mob instructions, real flashbacks of his antics as a child and more emphasis on the duality of his adoration of his family and his ability to switch that off in a second then back on again. He was cold but he had character a lot of it, but it’s lacking in this film.
Yet this film does demonstrate an accurate timeline of events, the acting is good throughout but it’s just lacking that kick to the gut, that real shock and horror of events. It is certainly effective and is one of the better serial killer recounts.
Rating : 6/10
R: Bundy: An American Icon (2008), Ed Gein (2000), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986), Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas (2009)
Q: Mr Kiklinski, do you have any regrets about the things you’ve done?
BS: Ending Sequence where Michael Shannon re inacts part of the Iceman Tapes is the best acting in this film. He immiates Kuklinski perfectly.
L: Selected Serial Killer Films,
5B: Michael Shannon, Winoa Ryder
DGI: Chug a beer for every murder.