read the news // live the culture
The Upcoming | Read the news // Live the culture
Friday 31st October 2014
Menu

Film review: The Iceman

  Thursday 7th March 2013
  Thursday 7th March 2013

Michael Shannon freezes the blood as the ruthless real-life hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski – or, Richie to his wife and kids – in this respectable entry into the inundated, yet ever increasing canon of mafia-flavoured crime thrillers.

Premise-wise, we’re in familiar territory: a criminal struggles to maintain a law-abiding façade with his family as his atrocities mount. Thankfully, however, what The Iceman lacks in originality it compensates for with an impressive central performance. Shannon (who, despite a rather extensive list of feature film appearances, is still probably best known for his work on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) is suitably compelling as the eponymous killer who racked up a purported three-figure body count between the 1950s and 1980s.

Unnervingly stoic in the face of a gun barrel, Shannon is never anything other than utterly convincing as a man who’ll murder without hesitation. In one standout scene, he mocks a victim’s instinctive call for help by encouraging them to keep on praying to God. With no celestial intervention forthcoming, he chillingly surmises: “I’m not feeling anything”.

As with many films that choose to depict recorded events, The Iceman suffers from the familiar double-edged sword of wanting to tell an engaging true life story without taking dramatic liberties. As a result, there is nothing here that hasn’t been seen before – all the tropes of a mobster drama are present and correct: threats are made against Kuklinski’s family, there is fallout over Kuklinski’s refusal to shoot a female witness (Kuklinski apparently had a “no children, no women” rule; sounds familiar?), and, of course, Ray Liotta.

Kudos, then, to writer/director Ariel Vronmen who – in possible recognition of this fact – ensures that Shannon is seldom off-screen for long. In addition to Shannon, he’s been able to secure an interesting supporting cast: Winona Ryder plays Kuklinski’s beleaguered wife, Chris Evans turns up as an almost-unrecognisable, heavily bearded partner-in-crime, and, best of all, David Schwimmer appears as a wonderfully oleaginous criminal underling.

It’s far from groundbreaking, but entirely watchable.

Verdict: •••

Tom Yates

The Iceman will be released in cinemas on 7th June 2013.

Watch the trailer for The Iceman here.


More about the author


Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500
DEC launches unprecedented Ebola aid appeal as death toll surpasses 4,500

An unprecedented aid appeal has been launched by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) after the group announced it [read more]

Jonah and Otto at the Park | Theatre review
Jonah and Otto at the Park

Jonah and Otto is a new play by established playwright Robert Holman,. It’s an exploration of loneliness, loss [read more]

The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess | Theatre review
The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have, due to a clerical error, taken over the Duchess Theatre for their [read more]

Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter | Theatre review
Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter

“They seek him here, they seek him there, in Regent Street, and Leicester Square”; as a Londoner, sat in the West [read more]

Notes from Underground at The Print Room | Theatre review
Notes from Underground at The Print Room

Imagine old musty philosophical musings written and performed with a kind of introverted g-force that winds its [read more]

Archives