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The Iceman

The Iceman: Violent Biopic of Notorious Killer

  • Chris EvansMichael Shannon...
  • Action & AdventureDrama
  • Ariel Vromen
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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The Iceman: Violent Biopic of Notorious Killer

In 1986, Richard ‘The Iceman’ Kuklinski was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of three murders – just a fraction of the hundreds of murders that he laid claim to.

Following a steady stream of books and documentaries on the notorious killer, Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman comes as the first on-screen adaptation.

Based on Anthony Bruno’s nonfiction book, The Ice Man: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, the story opens in the mid-60’s with a rather shy Richard Kuklinski (Shannon) on his first date with future wife, Deborah (Ryder). The couple shares a cup of coffee and Deborah innocently falls for his quick-witted ways hidden beneath his otherwise stone-faced demeanour, and the couple soon weds.

Kuklinski’s day job sees him dubbing and selling porn with partner and friend, Dino (Abeckaser). Embarrassed by his line of work, Kuklinski prefers to keep to himself and never allows family or friends – including Deborah – in on his shameful dealings. He’s a troubled and disturbed man, whose off-kilt temperament produces wild bursts of rage. It’s these characteristics that catch the eye of Roy DeMeo (Liotta) – a member of the Gambino crime family – who recruits him as a hired gun.

It’s at this point that Kuklinski embarks on his career as a killer, as he tries to balance his personal and ‘professional’ lives.

No one does creepy better than Shannon and the gifted actor – who was recently seen serving up the goods as the relentless General Zod in Man of Steel – pushes the envelope and delivers a blockbuster performance; unsmiling, pitiless and downright heartless, his presence simply demands attention every time he’s on screen.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the gang, which include Liotta, Schwimmer and Evans, all of whom fall victims to mobster-movie stereotypes. Meanwhile, Ryder, who hasn’t been seen since her small outing in the 2010’s Black Swan, makes a fine fit for Kuklinski’s oblivious and completely ignorant wife.

Taking cue from films such as Goodfellas, Mean Streets and Donnie Brasco, Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman is crammed with clichés – including Shannon’s horrendous handlebar moustache – making the infamous serial killer’s biography a rather wearisome affair.

With one tiresome killing sequence after another, the film does little to penetrate what must have been a fascinating case-study behind a brutal murderer.

Like This? Try

Goodfellas (1990), Road to Perdition (2002), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).

360 Tip

Although not fully explained in the film, Kuklinski earned his nickname because he would freeze his victim's bodies to confuse investigators about the time of death.

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