Posted by Alia Haddad on May 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm
I was definitely excited to see Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman. It’s less that I’m a fan of Vromen’s limited work, this being the first film I’ve seen of his, and more that I love the topic he chose to dabble in. The Iceman is a biopic of sorts telling the tale of how Richard Kuklinski turned from regular ol’ killer to a mob hit man, allegedly murdering over a 100 victims during his near 20-year stint, which ended in 1986. How he got the moniker Iceman was two-fold– so says the movie: first, he is cold as ice; second, he learned from another contract killer to immediately freeze the bodies of his murdered victims, which obscured their time of death to the investigators. Clearly, this was a must see!
Upon reflection, I can say with certainty The Iceman was fine. Yes, it was just fine. I went in expecting it to be better than it was, and while this did not ruin the film for me, the way that perhaps it did with Spring Breakers, the movie definitely did not live up to my expectations. I’d point to the generic use of filmmaking as the big reason behind this statement. While this movie had a captivating narrative, the film was exactly the way one might have imagined it to be. Moreover, it did not have anything new to add to the story. In fact, I would even venture to say that it took away from the actual narrative, with key facts left out to nicely fit the image and portrayal.
Why did I have such high expectations? Well, first they were not SO high. And second, it was because of the cast. With Michael Shannon playing the Iceman, Winona Ryder playing his wife, Ray Liotta playing the mob boss, Chris Evans playing the Iceman’s chemist sidekick, and cameos by James Franco and Stephen Dorff, I had high expectations. Throw in a really weird David Schwimmer character and I thought to myself, this has to be good. And while it was not that good, it definitely was not due to lack of trying on the performers end. The best part of the movie were the performances, most notably, Michael Shannon’s. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: watching him freak out on camera is a great gift all us film watchers should covet. So fully transforming to all his characters, Michael Shannon proved he was able to do the same when it comes to despicable hit men.
While The Iceman was by no means great, it certainly was not bad: a mediocre film on an incredibly interesting subject. Throw in a solid cast–with Chris Evans giving a surprisingly good performance– and you got yourself a good Saturday night rental.