Friday, September 13, 2013

Film Review: The Iceman (2012)

The Iceman (Review)
United States/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...with incredible screen presence, you don't want to take your eyes off him..."

Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) is recruited by mob boss Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta) as a hitman after being laid off. Richard, who soon became known as The Iceman, is able to keep his profession secret from his wife and daughters up until his inevitable capture in 1986.

The Iceman follow Richard Kuklinski from his first date with his future wife as well as his first hit, living the good life with his family, to his inevitable demise. It skips from date to date very often as it tries to present the most significant events. There isn't much story or character throughout the film -- in fact, most of Kiklinski's character is developed subtly, white the rest of the characters are barely characters. The story is a very basic come-up to downfall, but it's interesting and entertaining, nonetheless. The film ends as expected, but manages to have an epic vibe accompanied by an equally chilling monologue; I actually enjoyed the ending very much.

The Iceman isn't a biopic or a detailed character study. No, The Iceman is a crime thriller with plenty of thrills. I do wish there were more details into such a interesting, cold person, and I also wish there was more context to the hits. Most of the hits play out like montages -- you don't know why they're getting killed, you don't see much preparation, but you see the brutal execution. The time skips, the subtle character development, and the montage-like hits make for a fast paced, clean cut, and incredibly thrilling film, but a film that lacks information. This is a story that could've benefitted from a longer runtime and more details; don’t get wrong, though, this is a fantastic thriller, but for those expecting a detailed biopic, I recommend adjusting your expectations.

Michael Shannon is superb as Richard Kuklinski. His performance is delivered with such power, with incredible screen presence, you don't want to take your eyes off him; through his cold performance, you can see why Kuklinski is known as The Iceman. Ray Liotta is fantastic, he is really mastering the intimidating, boss-like character with his calm yet powerful performance. The supporting cast, due to the lack of character and screen time, don’t get the opportunity to excel, but they're more than competent; I like James Franco's performance despite his limited screen time, for example. The music is great in this film, really building a cold atmosphere, and leading your emotions with ominous and somber tones.

Overall, The Iceman is a great crime thriller. It's pure entertainment packed with two fantastic performances, a chilling story, and great music. I don't significantly fault it for lacking information and character, but I do think you should know ahead of viewing: this isn't a deep character study of The Iceman, it's a pure thriller from beginning to end meant to entertain -- and that it does.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex and brief nudity.

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