Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Iceman (2012)


The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

- Synopsis taken from IMDb



Michael Shannon is an actor who seems to constantly be 'the next big thing', yet never quite makes it as a household name. And, I have no idea why. He's a fantastic actor who has the ability to steal every scene he's in, has carried big roles in Man of Steel and hit TV series Boardwalk Empire, but somehow most people I speak to have never heard of him. I have heard it said that he has been avoided because he's not classically handsome and doesn't look and sound like Clark Gable, although I hope that's not the case. I still maintain that Shannon will get the big starring roles and become a huge talent in Hollywood, but I find it worrying that he hasn't already.

The Iceman is based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski. Nicknamed 'The Iceman' due to his ice cold, emotionless exterior, Kuklinski was a notorious contract killer who killed between 100 and 200 people throughout his nefarious career, and managed to commit these crimes without his wife and daughters ever suspecting a thing. As you may have guessed from my previous exaltation, Shannon was absolutely fantastic as the titular hitman. At 6'5and over twenty-one stone, Kuklinski was an absolute giant of a man - definitely not someone you would want to meet in a dark alley at night, as many unfortunate victims discovered. Now while Shannon is 6'3 , so he isn't exactly in a Tom-Cruise-as-Jack-Reacher situation, he is still a way off the stature of the character he's playing. Without prosthetics and camera trickery it is nigh impossible to make yourself look physically bigger than you are. However, Shannon pulls it off. His cold stare and intimidating demeanour cut a terrifyingly imposing figure when needed, and you truly believe that he is capable of the heinous acts he commits. In one scene he will be a gentle and loving family man, and in the next he will be ruthlessly killing a man with his bare hands.

The dynamic star is fascinating to watch and even draws the attention away from some much better known faces, with the likes of Ray Liotta, Chris Evans, Winona Ryder and David Schwimmer making appearances. The Iceman has the star talent, it has an incredibly interesting plot; it appears to have all the right ingredients for a modern classic, but the completed film is not nearly as good as the sum of its parts. It never quite gets the balance of the plot right. It focuses too much on the family life and murders of Kuklinski, while skimming over the more intricate details of his criminal life. It is these missed details that might paint a more complete picture for the audience. However, that is not to say that the film is a failure. The film is enjoyable and exciting, the plot is interesting enough to keep you gripped, and Shannon's performance alone is worth your time. It's just a shame that it's not as good as it could have been. As a side note, if you plan on reading more about Kuklinski after The Iceman, as I did, then don't expect to find the character to be as nice as he seems in the film. He may be painted in a bit of a sympathetic light, but Kuklinski really was a monster. I'll leave that for you to discover for yourself though.



Carl -

Jack - 7.0

Mark -

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