THE ICEMAN 
Directed by: Ariel Vromen
Written by: Morgan Land, Ariel Vromen [based on the book by Anthony Bruno and the documentary by Jim Thebaut]
Featuring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans,
David Schwimmer, Robert Davi
The allegedly ‘true story’ of Richard Kuklinski. In the 1960s Richard is working in a film lab tech copying porn films until his mob boss shuts it down and coerces him into being hired killer. From then on Kuklinski becomes cold blooded professional, indeed an ‘iceman’ even though he manages to raise a normal family who knows nothing about his activities. Eventually, the pressure on his mob bosses means he has to stop killing and this pushes him to work independently as a hitman. Kuklinski teams up with Robert ‘Mr. Freezy’ Pronge and they create the ‘murder machine’. No matter how much he tries to keep his mob life and home life separate things to come to head as on one side the mafia families move in and on the other law enforcement do the same.
Having researched the truth about this cold blooded killer it turns out he was a pathological liar, don’t get me wrong he was a killer who was sentenced to 110 years in jail, but he wasn’t any mafia big wheel and most of his confessions and murders have turned out to be utter tripe and have the whiff of ‘made up to impress people’ about them. The trouble is knowing this tainted the film as it starts off with ‘based on a true story’ and ends with what happened to the participants after the credits have finished. To put it mildly there is more than a large bovine whiff about it.
Michael Shannon gives his usual pyscho-man-of-stone impression and you know that this is going to be okay. I do wonder if he ever yearns for a comedic or romantic role but then again maybe not. Winona Ryder is cute and believable as his girl and then wife. David Schwimmer appears to be playing former England goalkeeper David Seaman but even so acquits himself well. Ray Liotta and Robert Davi turn up as sweary mob-bosses, I’m starting to believe that Ray Liotta might actually be a mobster, does he play anything else? Chris Evans is going for the wacky hair and makeup role as the frankly unbelievable character Mr. Freezy who is supposedly based on a real person.
Putting the truth of the story and safe-role of the actors to one side and this film becomes yet another mafia-mobster show. To make this type of film in this day an age you have got to have a gripping, interesting or different story. Unfortunately ‘The Iceman’ is not.
I’ve seen this before. The screenplay tries to show the murderous, sociopath Richard Kuklinski as a contradictory hitman killer but also a loving family man. Michael Shannon cannot quite look like a family man due to him appearing intense and a bit loopy most of the time. Despite this slant, nothing much really happens, some gruesome murders, a lot of swearing, everyone you are introduced to eventually winds up dead, James Franco turns up, says a few lines, gets shot. I started to do some work on my laptop whilst the film was on. I missed some dialogue and scenes but in the end, it did not make any difference.
All the main actors in this film are good actors, they could do better. This could be a better film.
Overall this was mafia-style-wallpaper to me. I noticed it but once I got used to it I sort of forgot it.