by ALAN SAMUEL
Brutal force delivered with ultimate precision is the calling card of the lead character in The Iceman. Just like the title suggest, cool as a cucumber if the leading manin this EOne Entertainment thriller now delivering the goods at The Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Cineplex Odeon Theatres around B.C. So sit back and enjoy this classic character study which for 106 minutes will have you on the edge of your seeds.
Main man in this piece is Richard Kuklinski. Through the smart lens of director Ariel Vromen we see how actor Michael Shannon (Premium Rush) takes hold as a first time crook who “graduates” to a more polished “decision maker.” Anyone who has seen Shannon’s earlier work, including a dazzling performance in the film festival winning Take Shelter will know he has a certain intensity about him. That style is well suited as we see how Kuklinski develops from an awkard single guy to a family man with many deep dark secrets.
Never a wow with the ladies, somehow this strong silent type nerd hooks up with an equally inept Deborah Pellicotti, well depicted in a demeure way by Winona Ryder. Together the two form a union with two young daughters resulting after their inintial 1965 hook-ups. Against this backdrop, much to the good wife’s innocence, our man of the house goes about his “killing” ways.
Scores of low lifes populate Kuklinski’s life as he gets by with a little help from friend Roy Demeo. Veteran tough guy Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) has a lock on mobsters and again rises to the occasion as a mentor of sorts to his new hire, a man who quickly learns the art of strong, silent killing. A gritty atmosphere dominates this film and it perfectly captures the tough and rough life mobsters faced in New Jersey during the era. Scores are settled with little fanfare and Shannon always delivers when the time comes.
You will be on the edge of your seats as sudden surprised pop up with little foreshadowing. At the heart of The Iceman, based on true events, is the love of family as our head of the house does his best to provide for his family. Never mind that all those gains come from very bad things.
One of the best crime tales in years, The Iceman is a fitting look at a man on the rise and the ultimate problems that come his way.